I took another look at Monroe County’s latest state of the county report. The number of animals handled at each of the animal shelters really jumped out at me. They contradict what was reported in the media when the high kill rate at the Upper Keys shelter came to light. What’s going on here?
Is the county lying about this, too? Did the media get it wrong? Where’s the bust? This is another issue that’s gone down the memory hole. And that is just very, very sad. If the county could just be bothered to stop lying and make a good-faith effort, maybe a lot of needless suffering could be prevented.
Here’s a table comparing the two. They are way off.
The media report numbers are for 2014 (I believe) and the state of the county numbers are for 2015. The Upper Keys numbers are about what you’d expect. The Middle Keys and Key West are way higher than what was reported in the media just one year ago.
Also strange: the state of the county claims that the Key West numbers increased 12% from last year. That would mean that the Key West Shelter handled about 1,660 animals. More than double what was reported in the media. Did the county re-jigger the numbers to justify the annual funding amounts for each shelter? I really, really hope that is not true. I very much dislike the county. I’ve caught them in more lies than I can count. But even I have trouble believing they’d be capable of doing something like that.
There’s an observational conflict as well. The feral cat population in the Upper Keys is the subject of ongoing debate. Arguments break out between people who feed them and people who are concerned about how that contributes to the overall problem – including the detrimental effect on native wildlife. This letter to the editor is a great example. Be sure to read the comments. Again, folks in the Upper Keys seem to be completely unaware of the funding differences and how that might contribute to the problem. And yes, I have pointed it out.
I’ve seen the huge amount of feral cats for myself. There’s a bunch of them living in the woods around the wastewater treatment plant. There’s a man who stops and feeds them every day. There’s a bunch behind Publix, and behind Winn Dixie in Tavernier. Media reports and public discussion give the impression that this is an issue that disproportionately impacts the Upper Keys. Shouldn’t the numbers reflect that? Why don’t they?
What is going on here? I submitted a public records request to see what I can find out. I hope the county will be forthcoming. If they don’t like the question and they can’t put you off, they can be quite testy. I also sent one to the organization that runs the Key West shelter and which recently took over the Marathon shelter.
I’ve written about this very sad topic before. Here is a collection of links.