Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foster Kittens and Mama Cat

Mama Cat arrived at my home on Sunday evening, April 5th. Her four kittens were born during the night and early in the morning on April 6th. This little family was one of 50 cats Theresa, the Key West Cat Society and friends trapped in a colony in Punta Gorda that weekend. ALL of the female cats captured were pregnant.

The size of this colony underlines the need for swift and continual SNR (spay-neuter-return) programs world wide to control the overpopulation of cats everywhere. It starts with personal responsibility for pet owners everywhere to spay and neuter their pets, even when the intention is that they live indoors. Stop the breeding. Save the cats.

All the 50 cats and their kittens trapped in this Punta Gorda colony will be spayed and neutered and have all their shots and tests before adopted or returned to the place they were found. Please support our work with a generous donation to KWCS/VCC.

Click HERE to see more photos. Once at the Flickr photosite, click on "view as slideshow" if desired.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kitty Drama

Princess Diana stalked this squirrel for about 1/2 hr. as it made it's way around the yard. When it decided to crawl up the screen of my lanai, she decided to act and lunged at it, crashing into the screen head on - scared us all. The little hunter probably found edible things in the dirt around plants when she was living in the wild outdoors because I notice she's been digging in my fern a couple of times. Hummm. The adventure continues. Today I rearranged all the furniture in the main bedroom so Apache and Diana could have a fresh new look at who gets what for territory. Apache ventured out of her closet apartment in the night last night to climb up on the bed. She stayed for about 15 minutes - on full alert for Diana, ready to hiss at anything that moved. I'm hopeful that we can all get used to the new arrangement within a few weeks and Apache will accept Diana into the family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eyes Open - Day 8 for Foster Kittens

I'm so excited to witness the lives of the mother cat and her four little kittens born in my house on Monday April 6th. Today, on day eight, they are opening their eyes. Here's a picture of the wonderful event.

Plus ... it's my birthday today. This is a thrilling birthday present from the cats :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Article on Animal Ethics/Rights Debate in NYT

Op-Ed Columnist
Humanity Even for Nonhumans
Writings by a Princeton scholar have popularized a movement to grant basic protections to pigs and chickens — and to limit human dominion over other species.

Published: April 8, 2009
One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens — and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.

I’m referring to the stunning passage in California, by nearly a 2-to-1 majority, of an animal rights ballot initiative that will ban factory farms from keeping calves, pregnant hogs or egg-laying hens in tiny pens or cages in which they can’t stretch out or turn around. It was an element of a broad push in Europe and America alike to grant increasing legal protections to animals.
Spain is moving to grant basic legal rights to apes. In the United States, law schools are offering courses on animal rights, fast-food restaurants including Burger King are working with animal rights groups to ease the plight of hogs and chickens in factory farms and the Humane Society of the United States is preparing to push new legislation to extend the California protections to other states.
At one level, this movement on behalf of oppressed farm animals is emotional, driven by sympathy at photos of forlorn pigs or veal calves kept in tiny pens. Yet the movement is also the product of a deep intellectual ferment pioneered by the Princeton scholar Peter Singer.
Professor Singer wrote a landmark article in 1973 for The New York Review of Books and later expanded it into a 1975 book, “Animal Liberation.” That book helped yank academic philosophy back from a dreary foray into linguistics and pushed it to confront such fascinating questions of applied ethics as: What are our moral obligations to pigs?
John Maynard Keynes wrote that ideas, “both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” This idea popularized by Professor Singer — that we have ethical obligations that transcend our species — is one whose time appears to have come.
“There’s some growth in numbers of vegetarians, but the bigger thing is a broad acceptance of the idea that animals count,” Mr. Singer reflected the other day.
What we’re seeing now is an interesting moral moment: a grass-roots effort by members of one species to promote the welfare of others. Legislation is playing a role, with Europe scheduled to phase out bare wire cages for egg production by 2012, but consumer consciences are paramount. It’s because of consumers that companies like Burger King and Hardee’s are beginning to buy pork and eggs from producers that give space to their animals.
For most of history, all of this would have been unimaginable even to people of the most refined ethical sensibility (granted, for many centuries those refined ethicists were also untroubled by slavery). A distinguished philosopher, Thomas Taylor, reacted to Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1792 call for “the rights of woman” by writing a mocking call for “the rights of brutes.” To him, it seemed as absurd that women should have rights as that animals should have rights.
One of the few exceptions was Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher who 200 years ago also advocated for women’s rights, gay rights and prison reform. He responded to Kant’s lack of interest in animals by saying: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
In recent years, the issue has entered the mainstream, but even for those who accept that we should try to reduce the suffering of animals, the question remains where to draw lines. I eagerly pushed Mr. Singer to find his boundaries. “Do you have any compunctions about swatting a cockroach?” I asked him.
“Not much,” he replied, citing reasons to doubt that insects are capable of much suffering. Mr. Singer is somewhat unsure about shellfish, although he mostly gives them the benefit of the doubt and tends to avoid eating them.
Free-range eggs don’t seem offensive to him, but there is the awkwardness that even wholesome egg-laying operations depend on the slaughtering of males, since a male chick is executed for every female allowed to survive and lay eggs.
I asked Mr. Singer how he would weigh human lives against animal lives, and he said that he wouldn’t favor executing a human to save any number of animals. But he added that he would be troubled by the idea of keeping one human alive by torturing 10,000 hogs to death.
These are vexing questions, and different people will answer them differently. For my part, I eat meat, but I would prefer that this practice not inflict gratuitous suffering.
Yet however we may answer these questions, there is one profound difference from past centuries: animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sarasota AC Releases Cat Killing Dogs in Nokomis



Warning: If you live in Nokomis, esp. east of U.S. 41, KWCS has received reports of 2 incidents this week of rampaging pairs of dangerous dogs that are still at large.

In an attack on Monday in Nokomis, 2 rampaging pit bulls with tags and collars killed at least 3 cats in front of eye witnesses, injured at least 2 more cats, and roamed around attacking for at least 9 hours until Animal Control impounded the two dogs. The attacks were reported on Osceola St., just off Colonia. KWCS has extensive information on the names of the victims, the dogs’ identities and the dog owners identities. We will be blogging with more facts and names about these attacks in the coming days.

KWCS is gathering reports on exactly what happened and will provide residents and our members with further information in the next few days, but the urgent warning that should go out to residents and visitors to Nokomis who have children or pets is to be on the lookout for these dogs and be prepared to defend yourselves by calling 911 immediately.

Unfortunately, the animal control officers involved in this case told the victims repeatedly, “There’s nothing we can do” when the cat owners asked that stronger action be taken to permanently remove the 2 dogs from the neighborhood.

On Weds. Night, animal control released the dogs back to their owners after a large fine was paid. The two dogs and their owners allegedly have numerous other citations and vicious dog reports on file, but animal control chose to release the dogs anyway, apparently because they believe no laws were broken. The couple who own the dogs also raise and sell pit bull puppies, the victims said. The Osceola St. attack was approximately two miles from where the dogs live on Verona St.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, at another house in Nokomis, in a neighborhood just north of the Osceola attack about a half mile away, a resident heard a loud commotion under her house, investigated, found two dogs either fighting each other or killing another animal. She immediately called 911 (the sheriff’s dept. instead of animal control), and 3 deputies came “guns drawn” and spent a good deal of time trying to find the dogs, she says. The dogs had fled by that point. She said it appeared that the deputies were prepared to shoot the dogs and had been on the lookout for them, but were unable to find them.

In both cases, the victims tried to stop the dogs by hitting the dogs with boards or lawn implements but had no success. An interesting comment made by an animal control officer Weds. Night to one of the involved parties who asked that the dogs not be released, was that it would have been okay for the victims to shoot the dogs during the attack because the attack was going on, but after the attack was over, the AC officer said, “there’s nothing we can do” to the dogs or the owners, other than to fine them for allowing the dogs to roam. They had not done anything illegal, she said.

Callers to KWCS who are extremely upset by these events keep asking, what can we, the residents and cat owners, do about this? At this time, we are gathering information and coming up with some ideas of how to raise community awareness and involvement in preventing further dog attacks here. We will be emailing to our list and posting on our blog with concrete actions that can be taken to voice your opinion or make calls to officials about this situation. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we have contacted the sheriff’s dept. and other animal rescue groups to ask for their input and response to these incidents. So far, no one has called back.

Nor has the news media reported any of this. Even more troubling is that these 2 attacks follow by only a few weeks three reports received by KWCS of South Venice, Nokomis and Sarasota residents shooting and killing cats, or planning to do so. Again, Sarasota County’s animal officials said nothing can be done about this without the victims presenting hard evidence of the shootings first. A victim needs to produce the dead cat’s body and/or videotaped recordings of the actual shooting before an investigation can begin, we are told.

And, yes, it gets worse: in Venice recently, two individuals were arrested for having sex with a dog and videotaping themselves doing it. (unbelievable? No, I am not making this up. This report comes from comments made at by a member of the county’s animal welfare advisory committee at a recent public meeting at the Fruitville Road Public Library in the context of a discussion about Florida being a place where bestiality is legal.) The prosecutors have not decided whether to prosecute the creeps who did this, but might choose to do so. Again, no news reports of this that we are aware of.

Where are the news media and the public officials when these animal abuse cases come to light? We don’t think any of the authorities condone these atrocities, but the philosophy of “don’t make waves” or “the laws just don’t cover that,” or “we are too overworked to deal with it” just does not cut it. Who is going to take a stand for the victims?

All good questions, and we only hope that the animals whose lives have been given or who have been subjected to such awful treatment will have suffered for a reason. Their sacrifice might bring the necessary changes in Sarasota County to protect animals. By the way, the current animal ordinance expires in July and is being rewritten as we speak. It may be time to voice your opinion on what the revised rules will say to your county commissioner. More soon on all that!

You can post a comment on this blog and we will forward the comments to any public official who is interested in this discussion.

Theresa Foley, Key West Cat Society

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cats and Kittens Everywhere

Theresa and Caroline trapped over 25 cats and kittens yesterday in Punta Gorda as part of the Key West Cat Society's dedication to the TNR mission (trap, neuter, release). That's just the beginning for these cats. Two momma cats had litters already and Theresa asked if I could foster a pregnant mother cat through her pregnancy which we thought might be another two weeks. I said yes, of course, and brought this beautiful momma home and made up her kitty condo on my dining room table - with a hiding room and plenty of soft towels. Throughout the night I could hear her softly crying, and I got up to check on her and pet her head and under her chin. Around 4 am she began giving birth to her litter of 4 kittens. All is well. I have always dreamed of having little kittens in my home and now I am blessed to watch them grow, love them and find their families. This beautiful mother cat has been a joy to take care of as she takes care of her little ones. We don't know yet whether or not she will return to the outdoors after her kittens are gone, but my guess is she will find her own family to love and to love her. Theresa, Caroline and I will keep you up to date on the other cats from this colony. Spread the word. Trap-Neuter-Release saves lives.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Adoption Success for My Tabby Boys

Here is a picture of Jeremiah and Echo with their new Mommy. The lucky boys were adopted together. Bullet was adopted within hours of arriving at Cat Depot. I'm so happy these adorable tabby brothers are all at home with their families. Blessings to one and all. Love, RV
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