Miami residents shouldn’t be surprised to learn that those who run Zoo Miami don’t really care about animals. Or rather, they only care about the animals who bring in money. The cats in Miami who have lived around the zoo are in trouble, and the county shelter is not helping them. In fact, the county shelter is partly the cause of the trouble.
Miami Dade County and Zoo Miami have begun trapping and removing all cats from the area around the zoo. All cats, including domestic cats, stray cats, and feral cats will be taken to the Miami Dade Shelter where they will be sterilized, vaccinated, have part of their ear cut off (ear tipped) and be “rehomed.” Many, if not most of the cats in the area have already been vaccinated, sterilized and are being fed and cared for by local residents. To remove them from the only home they have known is cruel and inhumane.
Normally, the TNR process that the shelter does with feral and stray cats is to take them back to the place where they live so that they will be in a place they are familiar with. Cats returned to an unfamiliar place will not stay there. They run away to try to find their home — even if that home is just a neighborhood. Often, those relocated cats will be hit by cars, killed by other animals, or killed by humans. They are not in an area they know — where they know where to take shelter and where to find food.
Best practice for cats that need to be relocated is that the stray and feral cats be kept in a large cage for several weeks being fed and cared for. It takes several weeks for a cat to begin to feel like the new location is home — but often, even that period of reconditioning is not enough. Relocating cats is very stressful and very often deadly to the cats. There is no indication that these protective measures will be done with these cats. An email was sent to Miami Dade Animal Services requesting information about the process. Instead of responding to the pertinent questions about how the TNR (re-home) process would work, the shelter simply sent out the zoo’s press release with the false information about transmission of diseases from stray and feral cats. The shelter does not seem to want to answer the questions. And that does not bode well for the cats.
While alternatives were suggested to the zoo that did not involve removing the cats (who had caretakers for them), the zoo refused to listen or consider any of the more humane alternatives. The zoo also gave a press release with false information about how feral and free roaming cats can transmit rabies. That is pure sensationalism and meant to scare people. Alley Cats Allies, the oldest and most knowledgeable TNR group, says this on their website: “Despite the hyped-up media attention rabies receives, rabies control efforts are actually a public health victory—there were only 31 confirmed cases of rabies in humans in America from 2003 to June 2013. None of those cases were known to have come from cats.” Note the use of the word “none.”
Zoos traditionally don’t really care about the animals. It’s about making money. That’s why many zoos encourage their resident animals to have babies — because people want to see baby animals. But when the babies grow up, the zoo may not have room for them. Ask Zoo Miami what happens to the animals they don’t need or want. Where exactly do those animals go? Reputable zoos? Or roadside attractions? Or even hunting farms where the animals are kept in a fenced area and shot by “hunters” who pay enormously for killing an exotic animal?
Local animal activists are asking the public to help save the cats. Ask that the trapping of cats be stopped and humane alternatives be implemented. Ask what is being done to the cats to ensure that they will be safe? Please share this story with all your friends and family and encourage them to make calls and send emails. It’s the only way anyone will help the cats. They ask that you call the following::
Zoo Miami; Phone: 305-251-0400
Mayor of Miami-Dade; Phone: 305-375-5071
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