Injuring Innocent Felines


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Key Largo, has instituted an aggressive domestic cat trapping policy. Cat hunters are baiting traps and snaring these creatures.

FWS staff were directed to “cooperatively interact” with  “affected parties” prior to launching their cat trapping agenda. Furthermore, all decisions reached between FWS and the “affected parties”, must collaboratively reflect the “humane handling and treatment” of these animals.

These directives aren’t being followed. FWS is cherry-picking data provided by bureaucrats dependent upon them for employment, to justify their inhumane conduct. FWS recruits support from organizations that benefit from agreeing with them.

I discovered a hunter trapping domestic cats directly adjacent to the private property of their owner. This cat hunter was under orders to place his traps next to the homes of citizens with cats, which resided on the boundary line of the ‘wildlife refuge’. These heavily baited traps were designed to lure and snatch these family pets. Some of them may have been placed on the private property of this pet owner. This family has lived in their home long before the establishment of a ‘wildlife refuge’ on their border.

FWS is fond of touting their ‘captured cat count’. There are at least three locations in Key Largo where this government agency is trapping on private land.

FWS has authorized armed officers, capable of arrest and the use of deadly force, to compel compliance to this insidious policy.

Traveling everyday throughout the property bordering the Crocodile Lake Refuge, I’ve never witnessed a cat on the government’s property. Based on the evidence, many citizens believe that the FWS has contrived a fraudulent dilemma that pits the survival of the Key Largo woodrat against domestic cats.

It’s a high stakes game. Whereby this government agency must appear to be effectively engaged in a noble cause, so that their enormous budgets and salaries are justified.

This over-reaching bureaucracy must somehow authenticate and substantiate their increasing burden upon the taxpayer. Pressure is on ‘refuge mangers’ to sell the legitimacy and value of a brutal practice that injuries and kills, without considering humane alternatives that have the backing of our scientific community.

Miami-Dade County has introduced an extremely effective  Trap-Neuter-Release program. Their humane and compassionate treatment of abandoned cats is a documented success. Miami-Dade County has significantly reduced the number of discarded cats in a cost-effective manner.

Studies conducted by Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida, which followed a long-term Trap-Neuter-Release program, found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years.

These cat colonies are provided with food, water and affection  by their caregivers. These cats are spayed and neutered, while being attended to medically, at no cost to the taxpayer. Every caregiver and cat owner that I know, never purchased or acquired their animals as pets. They came upon them disabled, injured and left for dead on the side of the road. Many of these creatures were tossed into garbage cans and dumpsters while they were still alive. These caregivers and owners heard the cries of these suffering animals and spared them a painful death. They took on the responsibility to care for them, never asking for anything in return.

Trap-Neuter-and Release programs are nationally accepted as a widespread life-saving practice, supported by major animal protection organizations such as the ASPCA.

Recently, a family’s pet cat that had never left their property, was lured by cat hunters from its owner’s home with baited traps that were placed right up next to their backyard. This house does not have any fencing  separating it from the ‘wildlife refuge’, which it boarders.

The family’s pet cat was beaten up during this cat trapping procedure, suffering facial lacerations and a bloody nose. At present, their cat is being evaluated by a Veterinarian.  An attorney commented, that enticing these creatures to leave the safety and protection of their homes is tantamount to a theft.

Along with paying a $ 175 fine, if this family did not search for and locate their missing cat, their pet would have been executed.

This inhumane policy has begun to backfire on the FWS. Churches, civic groups, veteran organizations and community leaders; are coming out against this cruel and injurious  practice. They are displeased and disappointed by what is being done to these innocent creatures.

A growing contingent of citizens have been contacting our representative, Congressman Joe Garcia, requesting that he put a stop to the barbarous, inhumane and possibly illegal conduct being exhibited by the FWS.

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11 thoughts on “Injuring Innocent Felines

  1. “FWS has authorized armed officers, capable of arrest and the use of deadly force, to compel compliance to this insidious policy.”

    perhaps its time for the groups supporting bundy etal to have a go at the FWS and drive these children in uniform playing wood rat rent-a-cop from key largo.
    push back against all these clowns who like to muscle flex showing off to feel important with thier guns and thier badges and thier tailored military pressed uniforms.

    then repeal the national refuge designation while reducing the funding of such FWS by 2/3rds and after a one year study see how much the 1/3rd remaining FWS can further be reduced.

  2. WANKAJM, I appreciate and value your ideas and comments. Thank you.

    After a front page story detailing the abuses of FWS was published, several letters appeared in The Reporter. These letters are critical of the folly and waste exhibited by the FWS. Many believe that this agency has turned ‘rouge’, crossing the line of legitimacy, and engaging in criminal conduct. The following is one of those letters…

    So the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun to implement its “predator management program.” And what are the predators from whom the fearless hunters in khaki will be protecting us?

    Is it panthers? Is it bears? Is it mountain lions? No, it’s house cats. That’s right, Puffy, Sox, Morris, et. al., are the fearsome creatures in the cross hairs of these indomitable protectors of the environment.

    In a time of supposed government austerity, the folly of this particular program defies imagination. The pilot project alone cost more than $50,000 and captured fewer than 10 cats on Big Pine Key, many of which were people’s pets. And that number doesn’t include the tens of thousand of dollars invested in traps, fancy cameras and related equipment.

    For that amount of money, Forgotten Felines could have spayed/neutered 1,000 cats. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which of the organizations is most cost efficient and would have the most effect in reducing the feral-cat population over the long term.

    Their latest iteration, which has been going on for the past several months, admits to only capturing seven cats, so it does not appear as if they are getting any better at it (or perhaps it’s that the problem was vastly overstated in the first place).

    Other than providing a long-term source of employment for our already-overpaid civil servants in the FWS, this program serves no purpose except to squander tax dollars that could better be spent elsewhere or, even better, not extracted from citizens in the first place.

    Jerry Dykhuisen
    Big Pine Key

  3. Well written, John, but there are animal lovers and then there are cat lovers. It isn’t possible to be both. I have a cat, but it lives in my house, not in a wildlife refuge. It’s called a refuge for a reason. The Bundy reference says a lot about your supporters. Sorry.

    1. ahh but of course a true collectivist would cheer the BLM and damn the likes of a bundy as would they cheer the FWS kids in khaki or any alphebet soup bureaucratic knuckle dragger. i’ll bet you think the gadsden flag is also a terrorist symbol too.

      perhaps some of us realise the federal government needs back off the encroachment into our individual lives and the way is reduction and elimination and may as well start with cows and cats!

  4. Alex, thank you for your comments. I believe that I can love whomever I choose to. This empowerment, and at times liability, has been part of my growth as a human being.

    Being in tune with this Creation, does not require my agreement with It. Natural Selection–Survival of the Fittest and the transference of species across oceans, continents and state lines; ourselves included, has impacted the planet upon which we live.

    A family that lives on a large parcel of land, with house cats that never leave their expansive backyard, should not have government trappers creeping up upon them, in an attempt to bait and snare their pets. Their animals were not trespassing on ‘government property’. An action such as this is tantamount to a theft.

    This family has lived in the homes on their property, long before the establishment of any ‘wildlife refuge’. They are respecters of nature and the creatures that reside in the reserve. Their cats have never left the property on which they reside, until lured by FWS cat hunters.

    These trappers were caught placing traps within 30 feet of this family’s home. It appears that this ‘FWS contracted hunter’ may have placed some of his traps directly on the private property of this home owner. Certainly, this type of conduct is criminal and extremely offensive.

    Many Veterinarians–Scientists–Animal Rights Groups (ASPCA)–Conservationists and Environmentalists; adamantly oppose the brutish practice of trapping these creatures. Many are injured and killed by this practice.

    Scientific research, with hard evidence, has been presented that refutes the need for this brutal intervention. Many believe that it is another exercise in folly and waste by FWS.

  5. Please allow me to share another letter published in The Reporter, critical of the FWS cat trapping policies.

    As far back as recorded legal history, cats have always been “beasts of nature”, and citizens have never been held responsible for their cats’ action like they have been held responsible for their dogs’ actions.

    Nevertheless, now we see yet another over-reaching of government in persecuting cats and holding their “owners” accountable for their transgressions. This makes no legal nor historical/cultural sense.

    To think that we as citizens can sit by idle and allow the government to fine people because “our” cats roam at night and threaten the so-called Key Largo woodrat! Those rats have been endangered for decades, and they simply cannot maintain their numbers in light of natural predators. That is part of so-called evolution! The rats are on their way out by nature.

    Our islands as it is, are over-run with typical Norwegian rats. A secret closely guarded so as not to scare the tourists. We need more predators, native or not. The “natural sanctuary” in northern Key Largo can only survive with heavy handed protection from the federal government. Most species in there (woodrat included), cannot survive on their own given their weak hold on the land and their weaker stance against natural predators. Let “evolution” happen.

    Frank Resillez
    Key Largo

  6. Dear John,

    I admire your passion. I am saddened by its misplacement. In the end science, logic, and fact will have the last say. You unfortunately lack all three. You play an interesting game of trying to demonstrate respect for your opponents while at the same time shamelessly throwing around baseless claims and passion filled but unrelated accounts. Your passion and energy would be better placed in an area where you could claim more expertise, rather than trying to display some kind of misguided pseudo science in response to real scientific management being practiced by educated and trained resource managers.

    It seems clear at this point that your viewpoints are concrete. But I think your lack of credibility was established immediately upon the release of your first baseless attack on cat management when you included pictures of a kitten licking a baby squirrel as some sort of proof to back your points. That disconnect between what you perceive as evidence of what is going on, and what is actually going on in reality, is the real problem here.

    I admire your passion. But passion is not science. I write this for other people to read and reflect upon when developing their own opinions on the issue, because your mind is clearly made up.

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