Background On Why The Issue Is So Important
We moved from Virginia and purchased our first home here in Indialantic, FL. Since moving here in February of this year, we have encountered non-stop issues with our current cat laws, both domestic and feral. It has been a nightmare since we moved in. We have daily battles with the next door neighbor's wild cats urinating/marking, defecating on our property, destroying our screened lanai, attacking and fighting with other wildlife (most shrill sounds we have ever heard, waking us up in the middle of the night), and a non-stop battle with fleas (both in our yard and in our house). We also now have a raccoon problem due to the feeding of the wild cats. If we leave the kitchen window open while cooking, we will have 5 cats sitting outside of the window . . . it's a horrible situation. Having fleas in the house has been hard enough, but my wife is expecting our first child and cat feces is extremely dangerous to pregnant women, and can carry diseases that will cause miscarriage. This has been an extremely trying process and to tell you the truth, if we could sell our house and move we would, all due to the issues brought on by the cats. Our current ordinances and laws are trampling my rights to my health and property. I do not own nor do I want to deal with cat feces, urine, dander, etc. All of these issues stem from my immediate neighbor to the east of me. I cannot believe a civilized society would allow a property owner to propagate countless number of cats (since there is not a number of cats owned limit) in a residence close to the schools and I do not have any say about it. The cats are wild and do not stay in her yard, so the county is actively allowing her cats that she feeds to destroy my property and endanger my pregnant wife's health.
The current Brevard county feral cat colony ordinance has been a complete failure Due To The Following Reason:
1) It is a public health nightmare jeopardizing the health of our community: Feral cats are the number two rabies-carrying species behind racoons which are attracted to the colonies
-Increase the risk of rabies, toxioplasmosios, fleas, and other parasites complete failure to protect welfare of citizens
2) Has not decreased the cat population in Brevard County: The cat population has increased exponentially since Brevard adopted the Trap Neuter Release Cat Colony model back in 1997.
3) Tramples your personal property rights:
-An outside party can start a colony on your personal property, they can be in residential neighborhoods, by schools, hospitals, wildlife preserves, parks, and our beaches.
-When a colony is established nobody is responsible for those cats even if they defecate, urinate, fight, kill, clawup your property, spread disease on your property.
-There is not limit to the number of cats a person or colony can have on their property
3) Endangers the environment, damaging and altering our fragile coastal ecosystem:
-kills over 200k native bird species a yar
4) Inhumane to the cat and other native wildlife
-Left to die from weather, cars, starvation, predatory animal attacks, disease, or torture
By Signing The Petition I Support The Following:
1)Support and encourage the humane elimination of feral cat populations, including feral cat colonies, through adoption into indoor-only homes of eligible cats and humane euthanasia of unadoptable cats.
2. Support the passage and enforcement of local and state ordinances prohibiting the feeding of feral cats, especially on public lands, and the release of unwanted pet or feral cats into the wild.
3. Oppose the passage of any local or state ordinances that legalize the maintenance of "managed" (trap/neuter/release) free-ranging cat colonies.
4. Support educational programs and materials that provide scientific information on feral cats and the negative effects on cats from living outdoors, and call on pet owners to keep cats indoors, in outdoor enclosures, or on a leash.
5. Support programs to educate and encourage pet owners to neuter or spay their cats, and encourage all pet adoption programs to require potential owners to spay or neuter their pet.
6. Support the development and dissemination of information on what individual cat owners can do to minimize predation by free-ranging cats, and to minimize potential disease transmission to humans, wildlife, cats, and other domestic animals.
7. Pledge to work with the conservation and animal welfare communities to educate the public about the effects of free-ranging and feral cats on native wildlife, including birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and endangered species.
8. Support educational efforts to encourage the agricultural community to keep farm-cat numbers at low, manageable levels and use alternative, environmentally safe rodent control methods.
9. Support efforts to reduce risks to the health of humans and other animals posed by
diseases and parasites of feral cats, including but not limited to removal of free-ranging cats and elimination of feral cat colonies. Encourage researchers to develop, obtain, and disseminate information on the impacts of feral and free-ranging cats on native wildlife populations, relative to predation, competition, and diseases.
10. Recognize that cats as pets have a long association with humans, and that responsible cat owners are to be encouraged to continue caring for the animals under their control.
We feel that the priority of municipalities is to safeguard the public, protect our personal property rights, and to protect our coastal ecosystem.
We recognize that feral cat colonies pose a risk to human and animal health. Cats carry many types of bacteria and diseases that can be transmitted through bites, scratches and fecal contamination. They can carry feline Aids, Toxoplasmosis, and other life threatening diseases. Additionally, a study in Florida found that 75% of cats within a colony were infected with hookworms, a parasite known to affect humans and other wildlife.
We further recognize that re-abandoning cats into the environment is inhumane for domestic, companion animals. Outdoor cats are subject to fatal feline diseases, abuse, vehicles, contaminants, and extreme weather conditions.
We recognize that efforts to trap, neuter and release feral cats have not resulted in effectively reducing the feral cat population. Government-endorsed ordinances enable the cycle of abandonment and undermine efforts to educate the public about responsible pet ownership.
We recognize that TNR Ordinances come at the expense of wildlife, already struggling to survive in isolated and fragmented habitats. Well-fed cats are no less motivated to hunt. They are a non-native, predator species, not part of the ecosystem. Many areas in Florida have rare, threatened, and endangered species, as well as species of special concern. Such areas are designated as critical habitat.
Therefore, we demand that municipalities act responsibly when considering Feral Cat Colony Management legislation. Municipalities have an obligation to enact laws that regard the welfare of residents and wildlife.
Ordinances regarding free-roaming and feral cats should be created that include cat licensure, prohibit cats from running-at-large, and require rabies vaccinations. Should TNR or Feral Cat Colony Management be practiced, the cats must be contained if the colony is on public, municipal or state land, and confined to the caretaker's property if the colony is on private land.