Is a kitten killer on the loose in South Beach?
Blakey Ross was walking her mini poodle on Euclid Avenue in South Beach Thursday at 11 a.m. when she came across a calico kitten lying on its side next to a large scatter of kibble and a plastic water dish. At first she thought the kitten was sleeping, but as she got closer she realized the cat was dead.
Even more alarming, there was a note taped to the corpse of the feline: “FEEDING CATS IS FORBIDDEN IN THIS PROPERTY !!! CAMERAS ARE ALWAYS RECORDING! THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. DO NOT FEED CATS !!!!
“The face of the little kitten – it’s heartbreaking,” says Ross. New times. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t do CPR. The cat looked very dead. I was just in shock.”
Ross called the Miami Beach Police. She says an officer quickly arrived at the scene outside of Alexandria’s 17 units in the South Beach apartments at 1515 Euclid Ave., took her statement and informed her that the matter constituted cruelty to animals, a third degree felony punishable by five years in prison. and a fine of $ 5,000.
She couldn’t immediately discern how the kitten had died, but the placement next to the cat food, coupled with the note, made her wonder if the cat had been deliberately poisoned. To be sure, she emptied the water bowl and collected the cat food in a plastic bag.
“My dog always tries to eat cat food on our walks,” says Ross. “It was already too sad, and I didn’t want other animals to be killed.”
A neighbor told Ross the kitten had been rowdy, still running too fast for volunteers to trap him as part of the county’s Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) program.
Linda Diamond, president of Sobe Cats and chair of the Miami Beach City Animal Care Committee, said the kitten’s death was just the latest incident of growing tension between residents and recorded eaters in the community.
During the COVID-19 closures, many sterilization clinics had to go out of business and as a result cat populations exploded. Diamond says she is aware of three cats who died of unnatural causes on the Miami Beach boardwalk near 45th Street.
“There are a lot more cats out there,” says Diamond. “When I see this note on this chat, this hostility is misplaced.”
Diamond says about 300 volunteer feeders are registered by Sobe Cats. Feeders buy their own cat food and work with other volunteers to create a schedule to ensure neighborhood cats are fed twice a day.
To residents, it may seem that feeders attract cats to their neighborhood, but Diamond explains that feeders are vital in keeping feral cat populations under control: volunteers report to his team when there are new litters and identify which cats should be trapped and sterilized. Then they work with the trappers to capture the animals.
“Without the feeders, we wouldn’t know which cats need to be fixed,” says Diamond. “We also wouldn’t have the knowledge or the relationships with animals to trap them.”
Over the past 12 months, Diamond says Sobe Cats has treated and vaccinated more than 500 cats and then released them into the community with a severed left ear. When a cat is trapped and can be socialized, it is put into the organization’s adoption program.
Diamond says police recovered the kitten for an autopsy. New times has requested a copy of the incident report from the Miami Beach Police Department and will update this story if events warrant.