Two of Perez’s cats in a mobile cage he has built. This is not ideal.

By Elisa Black-Taylor

West Miami resident Hans H. Perez is now facing a predicament no cat lover should ever have to go through. Hans is the owner of nine cats, whom he’s had and cared for 16 years. He is actually a cat rescuer and lives in rented accommodation.

Now thanks to a city code allowing a three cat maximum per household, Hans was ordered to give up six of his cats or face a $25 per day fine, which started on May 1st  2013 and continues. A Care2 petition to save these senior cats has been started by the Octavio Feline Foundation.

This isn’t a case of a cat caregiver being in over his head and the cats having to suffer. An animal control officer for Miami-Dade County has been out to the home, where it was determined that Perez is a responsible cat caregiver. He’s within County Code and has provided both vet references as well as references by his neighbors.

Mr. Perez has lived in West Miami for 20 years now, and has had these cats for 16 of those years.

The nine cats are all well cared for, up to date with their vetting, spay/neutered, and registered with the city. I’m not sure by the way the article reads as to whether Perez lives in the county and is having to follow a city code, or whether he resides within city limits. Perhaps someone more familiar with this dilemma can clarify this. At any rate, the fines are in place and accruing but he is not paying them. There is the possibility of an amendment to the ordinance that provides for a period of transition, which would benefit Mr Perez and his cats.

The petition, written by Carolina Araica and targeted to the city of West Miama, Chief Code Enforcement Officer Juan Pena, Mayor Eduardo H. Muhina and City Manager Yolanda Aguilar is asking for all of the cats to be allowed to live out the remainder of their lives in the only home they’ve ever known. Some have gone so far as to call the city officials cat haters, whose primary goal is to rid the city of all cats.

The Miami-Dade shelter isn’t an option, because they wouldn’t put the cats up for adoption due to their age. And owner turn-in’s don’t get any time to be adopted, meaning the cats could be euthanized as soon as they come into the shelter. Miami-Dade kills 90% of turn-in’s.

This sounds like a case where government interference is just plain wrong. It would be different if a crime was being committed, such as neglect or animal hoarding. Even animal control has vouched for the cats being cared for and in good condition. Doesn’t local government have anything better to do than to harass a gentleman who has given a great life to his companions?

Here’s some contact info, should anyone wish to make their feelings known.

  • Chief Code Enforcement Officer Juan Pena (305)266-1122 (Main) or (305)266-4214 (Juan Pena)
  • Mayor Eduardo H. Muhina email or (305)266-1122
  • City Manager Yolanda Aguilar (305)266-1122


Note from Michael: the picture is published her under fair use principles. It is small and a link to the Miami Herald is provided thereby benefiting the newspaper.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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