Indian Harbour Beach, FL, Votes on TNR Ban Tonight

Regular readers will recall that last summer, officials in Brevard County, FL, threatened to impose restrictions on TNR by way of changes to their ordinance governing free-roaming cats. This came after a moratorium on new colonies in residential areas was declared by the Brevard County Commission during its May board meeting.

According to a Florida Today article posted yesterday, it looks as if the community of Indian Harbour Beach is taking the lead. Tonight its city council “will conduct a public hearing and cast final votes on an ordinance that would make it illegal to ‘possess, harbor, feed, breed, maintain or keep’ feral cats within city limits.”

“City Council gave the ordinance unanimous first-reading approval after it was added to the Dec. 11 agenda. During that discussion, council members decided to make the cat-colony ban citywide rather than only on public lands, such as Gleason Park, Bicentennial Park and Oars and Paddles Park.” [1]

In an update posted two hours after the first story, Florida Today provides some insight as to the scaremongering behind the proposed ban.

“‘We believe that these cats present a danger to the community,’ James Frye, the president of the Martesia Homeowners Association, wrote in a letter last week to City Hall. ‘It is well documented that feral cats may carry dangerous diseases. Rabies, leukemia and cat-scratch fever, to mention a few,’ Frye wrote.”

Mary Manierre is one of two registered caretakers in Indian Harbour Beach. Her colony of “20-odd cats” has, according to the paper, been “‘grandfathered’ and allowed to remain active until June 11.” [2]

And after that?

“I have no idea,” Manierre told Florida Today. “This is the first I’ve heard of it. No one has contacted me.” [2]

•     •     •

I can’t be sure of what will happen to the cats in Manierre’s care, but I have a pretty good idea of what will happen to the population of unowned cats in Indian Harbour Beach if the proposed ordinance is approved: there will be more. Probably many more.

Although I’ve glanced at only a handful of the dozens of documents submitted to the Brevard County Animal Advisory Board, as it wrestles with this issue, I’ve yet to see any reference to a community where a ban on TNR has proven successful at reducing either the population of cats on the street or the killing in local shelters. If any such success stories exist, I’m not aware of them.

And there’s no reason to think Indian Harbour Beach will be any different.

The Indian Harbour Beach City Council meeting will take place in the City Hall Council Chamber beginning at 7:00 pm tonight. If at all possible, please attend!

Literature Cited

1. Neale, R. (2013, January 7). Indian Harbour Beach to vote on feral cats Tuesday night. Florida Today, from http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130107/NEWS01/130107016/Indian-Harbour-Beach-vote-feral-cats-Tuesday-night

2. Neale, R. (2013, January 7). Indian Harbour Beach may prohibit feral cat colonies. Florida Today, from http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013301080017

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