I may get some slack on this subject, but being involved with animal rescue, I see it all the time. People have cats as “pets”. But to them, this means the felines come and go as they please. Living indoors and outdoors, they may be fed and loved on, but left to their own devices. The dangers of living outside are many, especially in a state like Florida, filled with dangerous wildlife, insects, etc.
Now, sometimes this is done the correct way, IF necessary for feral and stray cats. Colony caretakers monitor, feed and fix cats all around their communities, ear tipping them so they know who has been sterilized. Feeder friendly strays (those that only seem to like their feeders) are fixed, microchipped and if not able to be adopted out, returned to their location. Hence, TNR – Trap/Neuter/RETURN. But sometimes the caregivers ignore these necessities because they don’t know any better. Or because the reputation of felines has been misconstrued for decades and people believe the cats don’t need us.
So rescuers across the world answer literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pleas to assist cats found outdoors each day. Long days trying to save abused, abandoned and needy animals takes a toll on every aspect of your life. And you help as many animals as humanly possible, only to beat yourself up at night for all those you couldn’t. You focus on the positive, remembering each happy adoption moment and smile created because you helped bring quality of life to an animal.
But now, two cats that were found outside an apartment complex in South Florida and adopted out, are the cause of quite an uproar.
Because of one tiny, minute, grain of rice sized oversight. The cats were not microchipped.
And in the rescue world, that means they are not owned. Literally, they would have NO clue if the cat was a pet or belonged to a colony without that information. So what are they to do? If the cat is friendly, they are going to proceed with their mission – find the cat a loving home. Yes, there is a stray hold period, but once that is up, they are free to find a forever home.
That is exactly what Bella’s Promise Pet Rescue did when a woman brought in two sweet felines roaming around an apartment complex. Which leads to another devastating rescue conclusion; the felines could have been dumped. It happens ALL the time in apartments when people move in or out, and pets are not allowed.
So when the cats, initially named Nessa and Nori apparently, were brought in as strays with no microchip info, they were adopted out. And Bella’s Promise has a unique arrangement. The animals saved are adopted through their partner rescues out-of-state, usually up north where there isn’t year round kitten season.
But then a resident from the Florida apartment complex, Jessie Liebling, stepped forward to “claim” the cats.
Apparently, Jessie had been searching online for “his” felines and discovered a woman had saved them. But when he contacted the rescue organization, he was informed that the felines had already been adopted!
Because he never microchipped them to actually indicate to anyone that they were his.
Liebling said he rescued a pregnant cat from his property in the Redland area in Miami-Dade County. Nessa and Nori were among six of her babies. Liebling said he found safe homes for her and the other four kittens, but he decided to raise Nessa and Nori.
“I consider them my pets. They were home with me every single day, inside, outside, in my garage, in my courtyard,” Liebling said. “They have become loved by my neighbors.”
He now has contacted the news stations to complain about the situation and hold the rescue responsible. And what did the news do? Ignored the fact that he didn’t follow the laws. Leash laws in Florida also can result in fines but no one mentions that at all. He tried to submit the paperwork from when they were fixed as kittens but sadly, that makes no difference.
No, the Florida news crew simply grabbed his two adorable human neighbor children and are now trying to pull at the heartstrings of the world. Kind of despicable if you ask me. Of COURSE the kids loved playing with the cats every day. So why didn’t they adopt them and give them a safe, indoor home? Why not just visit the cats at their neighbors home? Because again, people think cats are okay living outside.
Yes, NOW Jessie says that he’d get them microchipped if they were returned to him. Too little, too late?
NO, I am not heartless and I understand that Jessie and the neighborhood children are hurt and sad that the cats aren’t roaming around the complex. But you know what else they’re not doing? Coming upon a deceased and beloved cat that was hit by a car or killed by a predator.
So why didn’t he pay the minimal fee to have them microchipped when they were fixed? I guarantee you the veterinarian asked.
It’s because people don’t see felines in the same light as other pets and it’s baffling. These are living creatures. Care for them as you would yourself or your children. Follow the rules so that we can help as many street cats find homes without causing issues! I’ve seen feeders and rescuers be arrested for just trying to help a neglected cat that someone calls their own. Yet they are found wandering the streets, hurt and/or hungry.
And all it does is waste time. Because I can guarantee you, rescues have thousands of other cats to fill the limited space available from adopters. Even more-so in states like Florida with year-round sunshine. Not to mention the limited funds available to do the job that their “owners” should have done in the first place.
But sadly, the easiest thing for them to do is just blame the rescues for their fateful errors.
PLEASE, PLEASE let this be a lesson to everyone who loves an animal. MICROCHIP YOUR PETS so you don’t have to learn this the hard way.
To Corey Schwartz and family who have used their children for this sad display of irresponsibility, feel free to visit ANY local rescue and adopt a cat of their very own. Ideally one that stays inside so they avoid any further emotional damage. Just a thought!
All screenshots from Local10news.com