The cats at Fur ‘N Feather Farm rescue should not have been seized. I know that that is a provocative statement but there are some good arguments to support it.
Firstly, the conditions the cats are under now, having been seized and languishing at Hillsborough County Animal Shelter in Tampa, Florida, are arguably no better, possibly worse, than they were at the cat rescue at Bruton Road in Plant City. The facilities might look better but from reports it appears that the provision of care is worse. It is certainly substandard because, by all accounts according to Elisa’s report, the cats are dying in their cages with no treatment. They are understaffed. The operation appears to have degenerated into a failure. The cats are not doing well.
As stated in Elisa’s report,
“Local government should be held accountable to the cats in the care of any animal facility because, if this were happening to an individual” — for example Fur ‘N Feather Farm — “that person would be charged with animal cruelty and neglect.”
That sums it up. The cats are no better off. So what was the point of the mass confiscation of the cats? They shouldn’t have started without knowing how it was going to end.
Apparently some cats have lost weight and are even starving but they were not starving when they were seized. In fact, there were never any reports of a lack of food and/or water on the farm. I believe that they has had little veterinary attention at Animal Services.
Also the ‘deplorable’ state of the facilities at Fur ‘N Feather Farm might not have been quite so deplorable after all. Apparently no one wore special protective clothing to enter the rescue as described in the media.
Fur ‘N Feather Farm was at least ensuring that a veterinarian treated the cats because it was a vet who reported the cats to the authorities. And the facility was all right judging by the photographs I have seen. There appears to have been some exaggeration by the authorities in justifying the seizure of the cats together with a lack of preparation because they have created a crisis of humongous proportions and the cats are suffering. Perhaps the authorities and the media were too hasty in criticizing Fur ‘N Feather Farm. This appears not to be a cat hoarding case in the traditional sense.
Fur ‘N Feather Farm was simply a cat and bird rescue that got a bit out of hand from my reading of events. All the birds are okay apparently. As well, this is a registered 501(c)(3) rescue group. If you compare it to other rescue groups, for example, the one in California with 1100 cats on 12 acres, the number of cats per acre are comparable.
At Fur ‘N Feather Farm the cats were being taken to a vet. We know that. No cats were being abandoned or neglected. They were concerned about the welfare of the cats. They followed the instructions of the veterinarian. Why were they reported by the vet? It would seem to me the rescue did everything they could within their power by going to the vet and treating the sick kittens. The reported kittens were being treated per the vet’s instructions and had been with the rescue a short time – a few weeks.
It was initially reported that “all or the majority of” the seized cats were sick. This was modified in the news to “some” of the cats. Many were adoptable right away. In a cat rescue there are bound to be some sick cats because they are rescued cats and there will be adoptable cats. This is normal and not something that warrants criticism.
Fur ‘N Feather Farm had two separate areas to house cats with feline aids and leukemia which included separate outdoor areas as well. As far as I know Animal Services doesn’t have this. And what happened to those cats after they were seized?
Also, as far as I know Hillsborough County Animal Shelter have euthanized some cats because they were “too feral.” Fur ‘N Feather Farm had several acres that were a safe haven for feral cats.
As I understand it, no one has criticized Fur ‘N Feather Farm for the failure to provide food and water, and veterinary records confirm that all adults cats were sterilized except nursing mamas and kittens who were too young. Most of the cats were microchipped and all were tested for AIDS and leukemia.
The point I am making is that the situation for these cats appears to have deteriorated since they were seized. Perhaps what should have happened is that Fur ‘N Feather Farm should have been supported by the authorities to see them through a difficult time. This might have left the rescue functioning to continue to help unwanted cats.