Feral Cat News
Alley Cat Allies Challenges FWC Decision on Feral
Alley Cat Allies announced that it has filed a petition
to challenge the FWC's Feral Cat Policy adopted on May
Cat Allies Condemns Vote by the FWC as “Policymaking at
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 30, 2003
-- The following is a statement by Becky Robinson, national director
of Alley Cat Allies:
As the national advocacy group promoting
Alley Cat Allies and concerned citizens throughout Florida have worked
non-stop over the past month to educate the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Commission that TNR is not only good public policy, but is
the right decision
for Florida taxpayers.
The Commission’s short-sighted approval
of an ineffective policy and refusal to take the time to conduct
an unbiased and scientific
study on how to best control feral cats demonstrates public policymaking at its
worst. Not only is the Commission’s policy inhumane but implementing
this policy could cost Florida taxpayers millions of dollars. Alley
Cat Allies urges all Floridians to write to their lawmakers and
let them know
that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s
decision must not stand. In the meantime, Alley Cat Allies and
PAW will work with
Floridians and organizations across the country to assess what
options are available to overturn the Commission’s decision.”
Florida moves to exterminate feral cats; opponents say it's
KISSIMMEE-Florida's wildlife managers on Friday unanimously endorsed
a policy that could lead to the removal or, as a last resort, killing
of colonies of feral cats that threaten birds, mice and other native
creatures throughout the state.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the policy,
which puts a priority on public education, was necessary to prevent the
free-roaming cats from preying on endangered species like the Key Largo
Wood Rat, Key Largo Cotton Mouse and scrub jays in Central Florida.
is not anti-cat; it is pro-wildlife,'' said Frank Montalbano, director
of wildlife for the agency.
Cat Advocates, many who manage colonies in programs that trap, neuter
and release them back into the wild, showed up dozens strong to accuse
the seven-member commission of ignoring their successes and pursuing
what Orlando attorney Robert Petree labeled ``feline genocide.''
State of Florida will be recognized and known as the Bloodshine
State not Sunshine State," said Brenda Beck, president
of Pets & Animals
in Distress (PAW).
They did not even take into consideration the many
local, State and national organizations, rescue groups and volunteers that
have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and dedciated many hours
themselves to this cause to help save them from being killed
through a proven and cost effective TNR program that does work.
They already had thier minds made up.
By passing this bill will only
give the State of Florida and all the public officials involved
a permanent black eye in negative publicity
in the local, state and national media spotlight that they will
now be under, along with sending a negative message to many thousands
children that will see the State of Florida as a modern day executioner
of animals and most important wasting theprecious
tax-dollars of Florida residents to have the ferals killed,
when a already
implemented cost effective TNR program does work. I
ask if it's not broken then why fix it.
''I'm furious,'' said
Silvia Vales, one of several people who made the trek from the
Miami area to Kissimmee for the commission meeting.
waited more than 20 minutes to get through metal detectors and
into the meeting. Eighty-nine speakers, most of them against
were limited to one minute each.
''We spend money fixing cats and now they want to kill them,''
But commissioners insist the problem has become
so big -- the state estimates some 5.3 million feral and free-roaming
Florida -- that
they are compelled by law to do something.
The specifics have
not been fully developed, but commissioners emphasized that the plan
will rely more on cooperation than
Battles over cats have occurred for years in
communities, but this is the first time the state has adopted a formal
an approach embraced by hundreds of volunteers from Miami-Dade
to Jacksonville and advocated by national groups like
Alley Cat Allies:
and release. The commission received nearly 8,000 e-mails,
letters and messages about the policy, 5,355 of them
opposed and 2,533
supporting, officials said.
The commission's policy calls
for a heavy dose of public education that abandoning cats in the wild
is both inhumane
illegal. It also requires commission staffers to work
closely with local governments
and volunteer programs that have jurisdiction over
or responsibility for colonies of feral cats
Its most controversial steps would ban managed cat
colonies in areas where cats pose a threat to wildlife
refuges or any other
lands managed by the state and urge the elimination
of TNR programs
they potentially and significantly impact local wildlife
populations.'' Suburban or urban feeding programs where
cats pose little threat
to wildlife would likely face little impact.
staffers insist the aim is not to kill cats. Cats could
be placed in pens or sanctuaries or adopted.
state could trap and put the animal to sleep.
have the legal tools to do whatever it takes to solve the problem,''
said commission attorney
Several environmental and bird groups support the
policy. They say studies have shown the cats are
and spreaders of disease
and that the
colonies don't shrink as much as advocates claim
and often grow.
'Our problem with `trap, neuter and release' is
the 'release' part,'' said Manley Fuller, president
He praised the policy saying it will help protect
several endangered or
But cat advocates told commissioners
of programs that have seriously reduced feral cat populations
The state's largest colony, managed
by the Ocean Reef Yacht Club on Key Largo, for instance, has cut
to about 500, said community manager David Ritz.
Homeowners pick up the annual tab of nearly $100,000.
made up their minds before today and this was nothing but a farce and
a waste of our time,''
executive director of The
Cat Network, a Miami-Dade County organization
the manages a number of colonies.
Kerry Fay of Alley Cat Allies said cats are being
blamed while the state fails to address far more
destruction from overdevelopment.
''A bulldozer in a single day can do more damage
to wildlife'' than a feral cat can do in a
The biggest test of the policy may come
from broader public reaction if the state actually
On Key Biscayne, Scott McKenna,
a 77-year-old sailor whose 32-foot sailboat Sara is docked
lives in woods
nearby somewhat of a nuisance: ''They do
smell,'' he said.
Still, though he's not
one of the Cat Network feeders the county authorizes to take care
of the cats,
he sometimes gives them
a tidbit or two,
despite signs that read: ``Feeding feral
or nuisance animals
. . . is prohibited
and subject to civil penalty.''
big cat fancier but he's seen the colony shrink from 100-plus before
to a couple dozen
idea of just
wiping them out doesn't sit well with
him. ''I don't want to see that happen.
If they have good reasons for killing
then I guess it's OK,'' he said. "But
I just don't
Click here to see what the press is reporting on this issue.