Florida AC feral cat policy addition
3rd Quarter 2006
Official Quarterly Publication of the FLORIDA ANIMAL CONTROL ASSOCIATION
Hillsborough County Animal Services
In addition to undertaking the massive task of surveying our members on such a wide variety of topics, [see below] your Board also figured it ws time to take a hard look at FACA’s policy statements. Most of you are familiar with the FACA Policy Statements booklet that’s included with every Law Book that we distribute. We take very seriously our role as advisor and standard-setter for our Florida agencies, and spent considerable time reviewing and editing the 2006 version that is now at the printer. I’d like to draw your attention to some of the changes.
We added this to our Feral Cat policy:
FACA discourages the outdoor feeding of all free-roaming cats because of the significant threat of attracting high risk rabies species, such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, etc.
Here is the existing policy:
FACA supports the Rabies Advisory Committee Position Statement in the State of Florida Rabies Prevention and Control in Florida, 2003: Managing Feral/Unowned/Stray Cats (updated 3/01)
The concept of managing free-roaming/feral cats is not tenable on public health grounds because of the persistent threat posed to communities from injury and disease. While the risk for disease transmission from cats to people is generally low when these animals are owned and routinely cared for, free-roaming cats pose a continuous concern to a community. Children are among the highest risk for disease transmission from these cats.
While free-roaming cats can be vaccinated against rabies, this does not address the ongoing need to provide them health care, medications and prevention of other zoonotic diseases. Should one of these cats bite or scratch a person, it would need to be captured and observed for 10 days for signs and symptoms of rabies, even if it had been previously vaccinated. If the cat is not found, the person bitten would need to undergo rabies post-exposure treatment. In the past 10-years, cats were reported with rabies more frequently than dogs in Florida. The overwhelming majority of these cats were free-roaming animals. Human rabies in Florida was largely controlled by the removal of stray dogs when dog rabies was common during the first half of the 1900s.
Ideally, cats should have regular veterinary care and be maintained inside people's homes. Allowing unowned cats to roam free is not in the best interests of the community's health and deliberate release or abandonment of feral or domestic cats is not sanctioned under Florida's conservation and cruelty laws. Based upon Florida Statutes, Chapter Chapter 372.265, cats are not "indigenous" or native to Florida, and due to their adverse impact on wildlife, no permits have been or will be issued by the FWCC to make lawful either the release of feral/free-ranging cats or the establishment of feral/free-ranging cat colonies. Relocating and releasing non-native species into the wild is a violation of Florida Statute Chapter 372.265 and Florida Administrative Code 68A-4.005." , cats are not "indigenous" or native to Florida, and due to their adverse impact on wildlife, no permits have been or will be issued by the to make lawful either the release of feral/free-ranging cats or the establishment of feral/free-ranging cat colonies."
Last Revised April 2004
In your last TRAX you saw the 2006 Super Survey, gathering up relevant information that all of us can use in future budget discussions, staff meetings, ordinance drafting sessions. We will compile our results in time for the November Educational conference ...
Florida Animal Control Association
2006 “SUPER SURVEY”
Comprehensive Profile of Florida’s Animal Control Agencies
..... We know that the compilation of this data will be invaluable to your agency and others around the state. Watch for analyses and statistics in future issues of FACA TRAX and on www.FLORIDAANIMALCONTROL.org. FULL INFORMATION will be available only to survey participants. ...
POLICIES & PROCEDURES OF YOUR AGENCY
FERAL CATS policy: Allow trap/neuter/release ____Yes ____No
Ordinance prohibiting TNR ____Yes ____No
Support and/or fund TNR ____Yes ____No