Mission, Texas, on the US-Mexico border: In a disturbing photograph on the Yaqui Animal Rescue Facebook webpage, it seems as if someone is selling unwanted cats to customers for food at a flea market. ‘Food’ appears to mean snake food. There are 13 cats stuffed into a cage. They can barely move. Some of them are Siamese cats and some look like Burmese1. I wonder whether they come from a breeder and have been deemed disposable for some reason or other (can’t sell them?). I don’t know but the photograph reminds me of the Chinese cat meat markets.
The post on the Yaqui Animal Rescue page is headed with the words “Horror at the Flea Market”. I believe that the words are those of the founder and the person who runs the rescue, Sonia Venecia.
She writes that the cats are being kept in cramped conditions in kennels and when a customer arrives they are placed in potato sacks and carried off to a horrible fate. She complains that this is happening in a civilised country and finds it disturbs deeply. A friend of hers discovered this.
She is exasperated because she has called the law but they appear to be disinterested. She asks “in God’s name where is the law?”. Her rescue organisation has called ‘Mission’ (I presume the city authorities) before because of all the animals sold at the market. There are also puppies at this market, kept in tight spaces in the sun. They can’t even move she says.
The authorities at Mission told them that the flea market is not within their jurisdiction. They said to call County. They called County many times but nothing was ever done. On her FB page, Sonia asks for people to step up and take action about this abuse of animals. It is taking place every day, she writes in exasperation.
The 13 cats in the cage were rescued as I understand it and her rescue center is providing food and security for them at the moment but she needs help. Fortunately, animal lovers in the area and those who are members of her Facebook web page are rallying around. One of them, Homer Garza, called the police chief of the Alton Police Department. Alton is just up the road from Mission. The police chief is a customer of this man and it appears action has been taken.
Homer writes that:
“.. the pulgas [old Portuguese for flea] were raided and cleared of all the dogs and cats. The pulgas owners were notified that they were in violation and would be fined or charged if it happened again. I called him this morning when I saw this post and he had officers check it out no one was found selling dogs or cats he said they would be checking on them. Thank you Alton PD & Chief Flores.”
In a later comment Homer clarifies what he thinks is meant by the cats being provided as food. He thinks that the cats were being sold to customers to feed live to snakes.
He says that the Police Chief is an honourable man and that his team will do all they can to stop the sale of cats and dogs in this flea market for what appears to be snake food.
In response Sonia says that it is a shame that the police were not there yesterday when these 13 cats were in this cage in the hot sun. She thanks Homer for his help.
Note 1: these cats have Siamese pointing genes and Burmese genes in them. They might not be purebred but they have Siamese and Burmese genes in their breeding line. There are also some tabby cats in their. The Siamese cats look like litter mates. It looks to me as if a local breeder is selling surplus cats at the flea market for snake food. That sounds extraordinary but it is what it looks like to me.