There are some stray cats on a large, 300 home, residential park in Pensacola, Florida, USA. One of the residents of the park, Angie Hennington, has complained on Facebook (May 30th) that nothing is being done about the trapping and supposed killing of cats on the park. These are outside cats. Outside cats are not permitted in the park but this does not mean that they can be mistreated. That’s obvious. The park management don’t understand this.
Angie says that last summer the management at the park poisoned some cats. Angie buried 11 cats in her general area. With a neighbor she cares for about 10 cats, sometimes more. There are therefore some outside cats at the park although, under the contract between the home owners and management, cats are not allowed to wander around outside.
Having reported the park management to Animal Control, Angie discovered that nothing had been done except that they spoke to the property manager. We have no idea what was discussed.
The distressing consequence of Angie’s sympathetic and humane behavior towards the cats is that she now being mistreated by the park management. She says that management has made life unbearable for her including the kitties. Angie produced a photocopy of an advert in a local paper which sets the tone of management at the residential park (see above). Angie believes that everybody hates the cats and that the advertisement hints that the cats are going to be trapped and then euthanized (euphemism for ‘killed’).
Angie has become stressed and heartbroken by the current state of affairs, namely the inhumane way that the cats are being dealt with.
As a postscript, nobody should be in any doubt that if the park management are killing the cats after they been trapped then it is highly likely that they have committed a crime under Florida animal welfare laws. The only way that cats can be euthanized is by a veterinarian in the proper manner. To do otherwise exposes the perpetrator to the potential crime of animal cruelty under Florida statute 828.12.
In addition, there has to be a proper identification of the cats to make sure that they do not have an owner. Nobody can go around rounding up and trapping cats willy-nilly because some of them might be owned. To trap and kill someone’s domestic cat is not only a crime under the animal welfare laws of Florida it would also allow the owner to sue the park management under civil law for compensation.
Killing stray cats
There is always some confusion about the killing of feral cats in America. It is quite clear from my reading of the law (and all the states are very similar in this regard) that it would be a crime to inhumanely kill a feral cat which includes shooting. Unless there are some rare exceptions, it is universally accepted in America that you cannot shoot dead a feral cat. One obvious reason is that you don’t know whether you are shooting a feral cat or someone’s pet. Therefore the shooting of feral cats cannot be allowed under the law. Poisoning feral cats is equally bad if not worse.
Let’s be in no doubt that if the management of this park are killing cats of whatever type and doing it by poisoning they have committed a crime under federal and state law. They should be prosecuted in an ideal world. The lack of desire by the authorities to prosecute simply highlights their poor attitude towards animal welfare. It should not be taken as condoning the behavior of park management. Stray cats on the residential park grounds must be dealt with humanely, sensibly and in compliance with the law.
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