Irrational Inquirer Breaks the Ice with Police Officers

PROJECT—Humane Feral Cat Management Training with Law Enforcement Officers

As co-founder and former president of a humane organization in Lake County, I conducted informal education sessions about homeless cats and the humane solution to the problems arising from their unchecked reproduction. The audiences for these sessions included municipal officials and police officers, who are on the front lines for complaints about homeless cats taking up residence in a neighborhood.

The organization’s co-founder and I found the police officer audience a particularly hard group to engage. They tended toward disbelief of the statistics we had gathered from around the country which illustrated how a small colony of homeless cats can quickly explode into epic numbers! Indeed, the statistics do sound rather far-fetched—like something out of a supermarket tabloid!

My solution: Put the statistics into a supermarket tabloid format. Using this hand-out as the lead-off piece for the education sessions helped break the ice with this tough-nut-to-crack crowd. Acknowledging the “far-out-ness” of the statistics up front gave us an opening to explore the statistical evidence convincingly.