Print | By | April 29, 2010 11:26 AM|
About a year ago I "accidently" bumped into Ruth, a passionate and caring woman whose lifetime mission is to protect animals. Presently her driving force is to abolish the declawing of cats, an unnecessary and brutal surgery which, while banned in over 37 countries around the world, sadly remains legal and routinely performed in the United States and Canada. So it was quite natural for me, and the other people with whom she is connected to get involved to help educate and enlighten folks about the dilemma in which unprotected cats often find themselves.
Since I live in Florida, two weeks ago, Ruth sent me a fervent request made by Geri, a woman living in Silver Springs, who described a very disturbing and distressing situation about the stray and feral cats for whom she has been caring. She has been feeding and tending to this feline population for 26 years at her workplace. In fact, Geri mentioned that their store patrons enjoyed these cats. There had never been any problems regarding the work she had undertaken. Some folks even helped her with donations of cat food or money. In fact, some of the older folks that enjoyed the cats told her that "there is a place in Heaven for me because of my compassion and concern for these cats."
Animal Control staff that frequently stopped by their parking lot to do their paperwork or to grab a bite to eat was, of course aware of these cats, but never said anything negative to her about them. Even one of these workers would often pet one of the more friendly strays.
However, a man living on the road behind the store has two pit bulls that he allows to roam unsupervised. These dogs have attacked the cats, and threatened patrons, and also left "messes" all over the store's property. So, Geri called animal control eight weeks ago, after asking the dog owner, for over a year to please keep his dogs confined. In response to her request, all that animal control did was to notify the owner that his dogs must be confined or leashed. And while the canine visits have become less frequent they still occasionally visit the store.
You can imagine how upset Geri became when two months ago, someone from animal control appeared at her workplace loudly demanding to know who had called them about the dogs. Geri told him that she had made the call, and she was shocked by his rude reply, telling her that the dog owner had made a counter-complaint against her.
Adding fuel to the fire, the animal control worker continued by telling Geri that he was going to trap and kill the cats. So I must agree with Geri's assessment of his attitude that "feeding cats was far more offensive than letting the pit bulls run and harm people." Geri added that since the store is on private property, it is actually illegal for animal control to eat their lunch and do paperwork on the property, unless invited.
What is even more disturbing is the animal control handbook states that all stray/feral cats are to be killed because they are not native to Florida.
Geri concluded her plea for help by adding, "Neither are most other animals here, the war is against cats specifically. I find this archaic and cruel, people here are angry. I'm still in tears."
Touched by this situation, on April 13, I contacted Maggi Hall, another internet buddy who is the Founder and President of Animal Rescue Konsortium, a group devoted seeking foster parents for needy animals. Maggi is also the owner of West Volusia Properties, a local real estate agency in Deland, Florida. With her astounding list of folks dedicated to helping all animals, Maggi sent out a request for assistance. Someone raised a paw to help and has been in contact with Geri. Let's hope that this networking connection bears positive fruit resulting in the safety of these cats.
What type of experiences have you had networking online? Leave a comment and share.
Photo credit: "The Unknown Cat": Flickr by Pagani