Indian Harbour Beach taking the no-killing movement 1,000 steps backward
To the Editor:
The recent measures enacted by Indian Harbour Beach against feral (free-roaming, community) cats and their caretakers will take Brevard County's "No Kill" ordinance (passed in 2009 by the County Commission) 1,000 steps backward.
It reverts to a cruel approach - starve and kill - that has never worked, rather than support a more humane one with proven results - Trap, Neuter, Return.
Once the feeding ban is in place, do you plan to let the cats starve to death or will IHB capture and kill them? Who is going to do that, and who is going to pay this enormous expense?
Right now, there are dedicated volunteers, who spend thousands of dollars of their own money caring for free-roaming cats and trying to manage their numbers through the only effective method, rather than burdening the taxpayers with the expense of pointlessly rounding them up and killing them, or removing the carcasses after they starve. Obviously, that outdated approach doesn't work, or this would not be an issue now!
Indian Harbour Beach's action was predicated on inaccurate information and the complaints of a vocal minority.
How many people in IHB have contracted or died from rabies due to a community cat? What other diseases have residents contracted that have been proven to result from community cats?
Complaints about "copious amounts" of feces in parks are ridiculous, as dog droppings left by thoughtless and careless dog-owners are far more copious. Shall we ban all dogs from public areas, or maybe just kill them too?
Cats in managed colonies avoid people and other animals unless defending themselves. They may investigate an improperly sealed garbage can but do so far less often than raccoons. Shall we kill all the raccoons, too? A feeding ban forcing hungry cats to pursue any possible food source will seriously exacerbate what is now a rare problem.
Cats do not see human boundaries and cannot be constrained by them. Who is going to guard the boundaries of parks to prevent errant cats from crossing them, or will IHB simply wait for them to cross the border and then snap them up to be killed?
Meanwhile, who is going to stop irresponsible people (let's kill them, too) from continuing to dump cats in parks or on the streets, where volunteers will still, at their own expense, try to control their population through TNR of the newcomers.
Just because a municipality is unable or unwilling to educate their population on responsible pet guardianship, and then require it; innocent animals should not pay with their lives, and good citizens trying to help out should not be punished.
As for the impact of free-roaming cats on wildlife, legitimate research has proven that development and habitat destruction is the major culprit causing significant declines in bird populations. Shall we kill all the developers who have been responsible for the rampant development of Indian Harbour Beach and the so-called civic leaders, who allowed it?
Rodents and reptiles, like lizards - not birds or turtles - are the free-roaming cat's primary non-human-provided food source. If the "nuisance" cats are "removed," how loudly will the complainers scream about the rat/rodent population explosion that will result? And what about all the diseases transmitted by these rodents and their parasites? Or will IHB just round up all the rodents and kill them, too? Good luck!
Far too much killing takes place in the world today, and to kill even more with no good reason is shameful.
What kind of message does it send to our children that taking the lives of innocent cats is the answer to a problem caused solely by irresponsible people? Perhaps IHB should be defending effective, humane solutions (managed colony care and TNR, already endorsed by Brevard County), and supporting the efforts of caring citizens to make Indian Harbour Beach a better place for cats and people to live?
At the least, existing managed colonies should be "grandfathered" in and allowed to remain.
There are viable solutions. Education, especially of children, on responsible pet guardianship, including sterilization of all cats and dogs, is crucial. There are many good people working hard to manage feral cat populations. Many more are willing and able to help mediate disputes regarding community cats. There are already plans by Brevard Animal Services to institute this process on a county level.
Indian Harbour Beach should not be instituting backward, ineffective, cruel and inhumane approaches, like feeding bans and colony restrictions, which cannot be enforced anyway. It is a sad commentary that the "leaders" of Indian Harbour Beach still believe that killing is the answer to the problem of animal overpopulation and are willing to undermine Brevard County's No Kill Resolution out of ignorance or cowardice.
People working together can, and will, always make a difference!
I am asking the leaders of Indian Harbour Beach to please open up your hearts and rethink your decision about free-roaming cats. Let's find new ways to help these animals, other animals and people. Let's send the right message to our children about the value of life. Let's not waste the taxpayers' hard-earned money. Ask, and you will have an army of good people come forward to help.
Dennis Lee Peer
Vice President, Animal Guardians of Brevard Inc.
Saving millions of taxpayer dollars
To the Editor:
I got it! We can save millions of taxpayer dollars by taking away the keys to Air Force One!
Our "I would be king" president has spent millions on trips and vacations with little result. If you don't believe me, check the price of gasoline these days.
Also, his "I would be queen" wife spends nearly as many millions on shopping trips and vacations, not counting separate planes for the family dog.
Just think if we, the taxpayers, could afford the vacations this family has enjoyed at our expense.
Our fearless leaders in Congress need to get to the heart of reckless spending and make cuts from their expense accounts, the president's vacation funds etc. before cutting Medicare, defense costs, and Social Security.
Isn't it amazing that we paid into Social Security all our working life, but now it's a government "entitlement" and will be cut back even further? Whose great idea was that?
These cuts would only be the tip of the iceberg. No one program caused the national debt to skyrocket, so it will take more cuts to make a difference. Start with small things. Don't overlook a program because it's cutting would only save a million or so.
We could cut the pay raises to Congress and the payments to each of their wives (who weren't elected in the first place).
We could cut free welfare, medical, education, etc. to illegal aliens. We could cut foreign aid to countries that don't support freedom and/or vote against America in the United Nations. We could stop trying to buy friends of other countries.
When Americans are asked to tighten their belts yet again, that must include all Americans, not just the taxpayers.
Won't be long, there won't be enough taxpayers to make this "I gotta have it, now!" attitude work anymore.