Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society Joins Witch-Hunt

Hillsborough County (Florida) Animal Services’ modest step in adopting TNR is met with fierce resistance by some in the veterinary community. Their alternative plan? Uninformed, unfunded, and unworkable.

Among the agenda items to be addressed when the Hillsborough County (FL) Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday morning: “approve the Animal Services Department’s Plan to Increase Live Outcomes in order to lower the euthanasia rate at the County’s animal shelter.” A no-brainer, right? I mean, who could object to something like that?

Although regular readers undoubtedly know where this is going, I’ll bet there are plenty of Hillsborough County residents who are puzzled by the opposition from the Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society and Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation. Earlier this month, Don Thompson and his wife, Dr. Katie Thompson, owners of the Veterinary Center at Fishhawk, issued an e-blast warning of “Thousands of cats dumped on our streets.” “Sound [sic] impossible,” the e-mail continued, “but that is exactly what our new Animal Services Director is planning.” (Katie Thompson is an HCVMS member and sits on the county’s Animal Advisory Committee; Don Thompson is the executive director of HAHF, and recently spoke on behalf of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association in opposition to HB 1127.) Read more

Vox Felina Turns Three

Given the events of this week, it seems almost inappropriate to celebrate the three-year anniversary of my modest little blog.

On the other hand, it seems like an excellent time to express my sincere gratitude to the many Vox Felina supporters. You make the long (often tedious) hours of work worthwhile, and—more important—are making a real difference for the stray, abandoned, and feral cats in your communities.

Thank you.


Pet-Friendly Bills Struggle in the Florida Legislature

Despite an early victory in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, Florida’s HB 1121, the “Community Cat Act,” didn’t make it out of committee to be voted on this session. Ditto for HB 1127, the “Pets’ Trust” bill.

It was a disappointing session for those of interested in saving the lives of companion animals—one made worse by the kind of lazy, irresponsible media coverage that only serves to misinform the public. (It does appear, however, that SB 674, which would require shelters and animal control agencies to maintain—and make available to the public—intake and disposition records, is receiving broad approval.)

I was, not surprisingly, watching HB 1121 more closely than the others—but when a helpful reader pointed out that discussion of HB 1127 in the Local and Federal Affairs Committee on April 4th was broadcast online, I had to take a look. Especially when she told me who was speaking out in opposition to the bill. Read more

Animal Wise Radio (April 7)

If you missed this week’s Animal Wise Radio show, when I discussed the recent Ted Williams/Audubon incident—and how this fits into the ongoing TNR debate nationwide—with hosts Mike Fry and Beth Nelson, you can check the complete show in podcast format). An MP3 file (9.6 MB) of our conversation (approximately 21 minutes) is available here.

As always, many thanks to Mike and Beth—and everybody else who helps pull the show together—for having me on!

Feral Cat Mafia T-shirts and Hoodies—Light Colors Now Available!

Well, it’s been quite a week—the response to the Feral Cat Mafia prints, t-shirts, hoodies, and totes has been overwhelmingly positive! And, as promised, the design is now available for black printing on light backgrounds.

To visit the online shop, click here.

Unfortunately, distinguishing the black version from the white one can be a little tricky. Once you select the particular product you’re interested in, double-check to make sure the product name reads The Feral Cat Mafia (BLACK printing on light background).

(Note: For art prints, either version will print black on white.)

As with the previous version, all proceeds will be donated to FixNation, one of the country’s most highly regarded TNR/low-cost spay/neuter clinics (upon whose board I proudly serve).

Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated!

Police Implicated in Deaths of Stray Cats

Ada Pierson has been feeding stray cats for years outside of her Stryker, Ohio, home. But according to Toledo’s WTVG/13ABC, all of them—a dozen or so—disappeared in January. And Pierson’s blaming Stryker police officers.

“They were either shot or they were drowned,” she explained to 13ABC reporter Christine Long. “I think it’s horrible, they did not deserve what they got. Why Stryker Police thought it was their duty to do something, I don’t know.”

An investigation, headed up by the sheriff’s department in neighboring Fulton County, has been completed and the case has been turned over to a Bryan Municipal Court prosecutor. If comments made by Stryker Mayor Dan Hughes are any indication, though, justice may be elusive. Read more

Now Available—Feral Cat Mafia T-shirts!

After three blog posts and several comments to online news stories, I thought it was time for a lighter response to the absurdity of recent events. And so, inspired by the comments of the dismissed-then-reinstated editor-at-large for Audubon magazine, Ted Williams, made in the immediate aftermath of his inflammatory Orlando Sentinel op-ed, I’m pleased to introduce* a line of Feral Cat Mafia products.

In addition to t-shirts ($22 each, available only in dark colors for now), there are hoodies, tote bags, and art prints available. Other items will be added shortly.

All proceeds will be donated to FixNation, one of the country’s most highly regarded TNR/low-cost spay/neuter clinics (upon whose board I proudly serve).

* With much help from two colleagues, whose design and technical skills proved invaluable.