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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Florida Ailurophobes and Politicians Are Attempting to Kill Two-Hundred Felines by Closing a Sanctuary

Homeless cats in Volusia County, Florida have a true friend in Kristy Grant (See photo above) but ailurophobes and politicians are attempting to administer a coup de grace to her sanctuary.

Back in the mid-1990s, she rescued six kittens from an abandoned building in South Daytona and took them home to live with the four cats that she already owned. When local officials objected to this arrangement she was forced to pack up and move to Pierson where she purchased a house and ten acres of land.

At her new address she has continued to rescue cats and now the number has grown to around two-hundred. (See photos above and below.) As was the case in South Daytona, the Volusia County Council has told her that she must get rid of the cats because their presence is creating a public nuisance as well as adversely affecting property values.

As part of a growing nationwide trend toward restricting pet ownership, Volusia has a law in place that limits residents to four animals per household. The law contains an exemption, however, for animal shelters situated in rural areas and when Grant sought to avail herself of this loophole she was rebuffed last month by the Volusia County Council.

"I think it's a shame not one council member came to visit to see for themselves if it was a public nuisance," the second grade teacher at McInnis Elementary School in DeLeon Springs told the Orlando Sentinel on October 20th. (See "Shelter Dispute.")

In order that she might be allowed to keep her cats, Grant has pledged to reduce their number by finding alternative homes for some of them and to have the remainder sterilized. She has already shelled out $25,000 in order to fence in five acres of her property.

So far, however, these concessions have fallen upon deaf ears and now the two parties are headed for court. Worst still, the county has shifted the burden of proof onto Grant's shoulders by insisting that it is she and not the county that must prove that her cats are not a public nuisance and that their presence is not reducing property values.

This is, of course, a totally ludicrous requirement. Since the county admits that there are not any specific standards governing the establishment of shelters and sanctuaries, the burden of proof should fall upon the county and those residents who object to the cats.

Although the council back in August gave Grant ninety-days to get rid of all but four of her cats, it is not known exactly how much time she has left or if she will be able to secure an injunction in order to stop their removal. She did, however, tell the Orlando Sentinel in the article cited supra that she would rather move than give up her cats.

As it is, she is already spending between $1,500 and $2,000 per month on food for the cats and attorneys' fees and relocating that many cats will without a doubt impose an even greater financial hardship upon her. Moreover, it may not even be feasible since school teachers are not generally made of money. Consequently, some of the cats may wind up in shelters where they surely will be exterminated.

The Volusia County Council is without a doubt doing the bidding of Grant's cat-hating neighbors and this is proven by its unwillingness to even investigate the allegations against her. Rather than attacking her and the cats, the council should work with her in order to put the sanctuary on solid legal footing.

The petit fait that there are hundreds if not thousands of homeless cats running around Volusia County means not only that there are a lot heartless, irresponsible cat owners in the area but also that the county is not doing nearly enough to find homes for them. By sheltering these cats Grant is actually doing the county's job for it and she should accordingly be thanked for her efforts rather than persecuted.

Home to around twenty-six-hundred, mostly Hispanic, residents, Pierson is a rural community that would make an ideal location for a cat sanctuary. More importantly, with the felines confined behind a fence no rational person should have any objection to their presence.

Ailurophobes are never rational, however, and politicians seldom do anything other than the dirty work of the rich.

Photos: Barbara V. Perez of the Orlando Sentinel.