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cat colony on synagogue property - Tzar Baalei Chayim

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanTevet 3, 5776
144
Question
A tenant of a local synagogue started feeding some stray cats and never had them neutered. Now, 5 years later, there are 15 or more cats there that some people feed, and others, like myself have invested alot of time and money into having them neutered so that there will be no kittens. They want the feeding to stop and for the winter shelters we have put there to be removed. Is this not a violation of Tzar Baalei Chayim? The cats will suffer unnecessarily by freezing or starvation. We offer a win-win answer. The cats are no threat to anyone. Why can’t they be just left to live out the rest of their lives, which will be relatively short anyway because they are outdoors? Would they rather that their children see emaciated, dying, crying animals? Teach kindness and compassion, this is the Godly thing to do. Is this not what God would want them to do? These animals were abandoned by ignorant people and proliferated due to ignorance. They are innocent. I am hoping you will tell me that the right thing for the synagogue to do is to allow the feeders and the trapping/neutering people to take care of these creatures.
Answer
ב"ה Shalom There seems to be here two different sides to a dispute. The only way a Rabbi can give an objective ruling is by hearing the claims of both sides of the involved parties, which I'm afraid is impossible through a website. Since, the issue is by the Synagogue, the local Rabbi is the proper one to consult since he would know the full picture. On the other hand, though I'm sure the intentions were well, and people were probably unaware, it should be noted that according to Jewish Law it is forbidden to neuter animals, whether male or female. (Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 5:11.) All the best
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