Last week, the Pompano Beach City Commission protected the varied interests of the city's residents, pets and wildlife by boldly standing up to the agenda of a single special interest - Alley Cat Allies - whose mission is the preservation of feral cats, no matter the cost to the community.
The commission rejected an ordinance that would have formally endorsed feral cat colonies as the sole means of addressing the pervasive problem of roaming feral cats. The ordinance, called "absurd, insulting, [and] offensive" by one commissioner, would have removed Pompano Beach Animal Control from its role of protecting residents and responding to nuisance calls and would have put in its place volunteers wedded to the failed concept of "Trap, Neuter, Release" (TNR).
TNR fails to adequately resolve the diverse problems associated with roaming feral cats. Research by Florida International University concluded that TNR is "not an effective method to help control the population of unwanted feral and free-roaming cats," and a study published in Nature Communications reported that "claims that TNR colonies are effective in reducing cat populations . are not supported by peer-reviewed scientific studies."
By re-abandoning domestic cats, TNR only contributes to an inhumane and unsafe situation, such as occurred July 3 when a rabid cat bit two women feeding strays in Palm Springs, Fla.
Disease, trauma and predation persist.
The Pompano Beach Animal Control Department and City Commission should be commended for taking a stand for evidence-based feral cat management and against advancing TNR, a growing threat across Florida and the United States.
The writer is the Cats Indoors Program officer for the American Bird Conservancy.