The single family home community south of the William Lehman Causeway, Golden Shores, has witnessed skyrocketing numbers of unwanted cats for years. Specifically, there are colonies living and feeding next to bus stops, vacant houses and city parks. Residents I spoke to have agreed that these cats are a nuisance. Yet many people feed these stray cats dinner leftovers and other random food as an act of “good deed”. Some residents would be surprised to know, that Sunny Isles Beach has instituted a formal cat program across the city. Specifically there is a pilot trap/neuter/release program aimed at one colony on the corner of 191 Terrace and Atlantic Blvd.
This homeowner and long time resident and cat program volunteer, can confirm, that efforts to reduce the free-roaming feral cat population is working. I have witnessed first hand the population around my house go from around 35 cats to about 20 in the last 3 months. However there is still much work to be done to maintain and eventually limit the number of stray cats in out city.
Specifically, many residents may not know that there is an ordinance on the books that makes it illegal to feed stray animals on public property. The city will soon be posting the ordinance so tourists and “good Samaritans” know it exists. Please do not feed the cats on city property. If you want to do something good for our city, you can join the volunteer group. Concerned citizens for the cat welfare are part of an organized team that has a specific feeding schedule, neuter and release and adoption program in place.
Feral cats make up about 75 percent of the animals put to death by shelters each year. We are not advocating for euthanizing these animals. We want them to live out there lives, yet stop reproducing. If residents want to get involved and volunteer, they can contact Desiree Liguori, Community Development Department at 305-792-1792.
We have seen our small city go from a sleepy beach town with 2 story motels to a vacation destination with multi million dollar homes, award-winning restaurants, A+ Community School and superior Police Department. It is in the best interest of all residents to control the stray cat population.
Let us continue to work together to mitigate these colonies in a humane and peaceful way, while respecting our laws and upholding our standard of living. Look out for the next article in this series about the benefits of cat adoption for senior citizens and staving off dementia. If you are interested in adopting any of the cats, you can contact Helena Forbes or Desiree Liguori at the Community Development Department 305.792.1792.
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