If you own an outdoor cat, you understand that property lines and boundaries don’t hold a lot of meaning for these animals. As the owner of two indoor cats, I can say from past experience that there are some cats that are simply not capable of being indoor cats. That being said, I am here to inform you about the war on pet cats that is currently going on in Florida (Doesn’t the government have better ways to spend its money?).
Last Wednesday The Daily Signal posted an article about the war on pet cats that is taking place in Florida.
The article reports:
In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service implemented a pest management plan designed to trap cats that the agency perceived as a threat to the Key Largo woodrat. The furry targets of this sting operation were accused of trespassing on federal land, which is a woodrat habitat, and doing what cats do best: hunt and kill rats.
Instead of focusing only on the large swaths of feral cats that pose the primary threat to the rats’ survival on the island, the Fish and Wildlife Service went overboard. Resident cat owners complained that agents set baited traps adjacent to the private property of the owners who live next to the federal park.
Then, Fish and Wildlife Service agents trapped Rocky, a pet cat to Spencer Slate, a Key Largo businessman who runs a scuba diving center. According to Slate, the traps “were all about 50 feet from [his] property” when Rocky was lured in one night. As a result, Slate said that “Rocky’s face was so bloodied by the trap’s spring-shut door that he did not recognize his pet.”
Slate discovered this after a Fish and Wildlife Service agent showed up at his business to serve him with a written citation threatening jail time for allegedly allowing Rocky to enter federal land. When delivering the citation, the agent neglected to return the captive kitten, instead depositing Rocky at an animal shelter nearly 15 miles away.
Thank goodness a federal judge dismissed the citation.
The article further reports:
As Mark Miller, managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Atlantic Center in Florida, explains, “when [Fish and Wildlife Service] agents prowl off of federal land to trap private citizens’ cats on private land, these agents’ actions implicate a number of constitutional clauses” that could make the agents’ actions unlawful.
Furthermore, the fact that Slate was threatened with jail time for the instinctive response of his baited cat is a gross misuse of government power. This tactic represents the phenomenon of overcriminalization, the use of the criminal law and penalties to punish every mistake and to solve every problem—including a pet cat wandering around Key Largo.
Someone should point out to the Fish and Wildlife Service agent that cats perform a service to humans in keeping the population of rats and other vermin under control.
This is not about cats–this is about government over-reach and bullying private citizens. Cats are not known to respect property lines and the cat may not have read the sign explaining that he was about to enter federal land. This was a waste of time, energy, and money on the part of the government. This kind of abuse of power needs to end.