To the editor:
I'm a full-time resident now on this lovely island, and a veterinarian, and have frequently watched the cats in question chasing and catching mice in the evenings, after dark. There are four food-related establishments in that shopping center, Winn-Dixie, a pizza and a Chinese takeout and Island Grill. The cats sleep or lounge in the sun most of the day, and work at night doing their cat thing, which is hunting vermin. If "corporate Winn-Dixie" decides to remove the three feline predators, the vermin will increase in numbers dramatically. Then the one complaining part-time resident will have to rely on the night hunting owls to keep the mice, rats, voles, snakes and whatever else prowls at night in check. I, for one, would rather leave the job up to the cats.
Let me say I am so proud of the people responsible for spaying/neutering and vaccinating those cats before releasing them back outside, after the hurricane. And I thank the people who have provided additional food and water, to keep them healthy and strong. And to clarify the predation issue, a well fed cat will still hunt. It's their "job."
So in closing, I would ask for some fairness in this decision making process. Why should one part-time resident dictate anything? Why should "corporate" Winn-Dixie be making this decision? Why can't the majority of the people be asked their opinion? Why not have a community meeting, or, at the very least, have petitions, or polls, posted at all the shopping center stores, and see what the majority of the people think. My veterinarian heart thinks the majority would vote to leave the cats alone.
Eileen Rowan VMD
St. James City