For stray and feral cats, they depend on the kindness of caretakers for food and nourishment. People all over the world are dedicated to their colonies, some caring for the same group of cats for years! But when these cats get sick, they need to quickly be trapped and given medical attention. It can be difficult coercing them into traps–sometimes taking weeks or months. It is during this time that the caretakers often need to enlist the help of local authorities. But what happens when a feeder neglects to address the medical issues? For the felines near Lake Sunset in Orlando, FL, they are at the center of that exact situation. A situation that became much more concerning when those involved didn’t quite see eye-to-eye. In fact, one woman here decided pulling a gun on another would be the best course of action!
On Thursday, April 4th, 55-year-old Lisa Maureen Saunders was arrested for her horrible decision.
Saunders works–likely now “worked”– as a pizza delivery driver for a local Domino’s Pizza. She had apparently been feeding the city cats and those in the 2200 block of West South Street, for at least 2 years. It’s great that she is obviously a cat-lover, but care-taking comes with responsibilities. Recently, residents noticed that the cats were looking sickly and contacted authorities.
One local resident who reported the issues, was worried about the neighborhood children. She was concerned that if they approached the cats, they would become infected with “scabies”. If this is what the felines were experiencing, it IS contagious to humans. Although usually only causing itching in humans, it’s still best to avoid contracting it.
Orange County Animal Services stepped in to help, setting traps in the area. Unfortunately, they were met with quite a bit of resistance. It’s never easy to trap feral or stray cats. They are taught their entire lives to avoid humans, usually unless there is food involved. So one of the methods of trapping is to patiently feed them closer to traps, eventually placing food within the traps.
But what do you do when someone purposefully derails those efforts, and delays helping the cats?
The concerned woman noticed Lisa Saunders continuing to feed the cats away from the traps. On March 30th, she witnessed Saunders “putting food on the sidewalk around 5:30 a.m.”. It was not the first time the two woman had disagreed regarding the felines. Several calls had been made by that point complaining of Saunders actions.
The report from the Orlando Sentinel indicates this time was quite different however.
After warning Saunders that the feedings were attracting sick felines, the woman said Saunders walked to her  silver Nissan Altima and brandished a handgun.
“Don’t f— with me,” Saunders told the woman and then got into her car and drove away, according to the arrest report.
As fate would have it, she delivered a pizza to the victim within days of the incident.
She was immediately recognized by the woman who contacted the police. Officers reached out to the fast food location and spoke to the manager. Asking if their delivery woman drove the car in question and if she fed strays, both were confirmed to be Saunders. She was then identified in a lineup by the victim.
After her arrest on Thursday, she was booked into the Orange County Jail. Per the court records, her bond was set at $10,000. The official charge was “aggravated assault with a firearm.”
When I first saw this headline, I was worried for the feeder thinking she’d been protecting herself. After researching the incident though, was concerned me was the reputation this may give stray/feral feeders in the area. Not to mention the rescue organizations trying to help the felines survive. This woman may have been doing a nice thing feeding cats, but being a caretaker is SO much more than that.
Please reach out to your local rescue, TNVR and feral caretaker communities if you are interested in learning more. Sadly, with the millions of cats living on the streets, there are ALWAYS those in need. Just be sure to be safe and cooperative. Oh also, until now figured this went without saying–no violence! It’s about the cats lives people, and they depend on us to do the right thing.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
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