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Press Release

For Immediate Release: July 23, 2012
Contact: PATRICIA JONES, media@alleycat.org or (718) 651-7187; FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@johnadams.com or (202) 207-1134

ALLEY CAT ALLIES SUPPORTS BREVARD COUNTY, FL CITIZEN IN LAWSUIT AGAINST COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Suit faults Board of County Commissioners for improperly suspending county Trap-Neuter-Return ordinance

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today announced that a lawsuit has been filed against the Brevard County Board of Commissioners for illegally suspending key portions of a 13-year-old county ordinance establishing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for feral cats in Brevard County.

The suit asks the court to determine that the Board of County Commissioners violated both state and local law at a May 15 public hearing when they suspended key provisions of the TNR ordinance and imposed a moratorium on new registrations of colonies without proper advance public notice and hearing. The commissioners acted after a single citizen raised objections to TNR.

“The undemocratic actions by Brevard County Commissioners to roll back Trap-Neuter-Return—without public input or a vote—will have dire consequences for the community unless we can stop the moratorium immediately,” said Becky Robinson, President and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.

“TNR has greatly benefitted the Brevard community for 13 years. Gutting this program will mean a return to the deadly and ineffective policies of the past. At least one resident has already suffered after cats she was caring for were taken away on county orders,” Robinson said.

The lawsuit was filed by Avery S. Chapman, Esq., of the Chapman Law Group, PLC (Wellington, Fla.) on behalf of a citizen of Brevard County who was refused legal registration of a feral cat colony she had been caring for on a property adjacent to hers under the Brevard County Trap-Neuter-Return ordinance, including neutering and vaccinating cats with her own money. Just days after the Board’s illegal actions, the citizen discovered animal control workers trapping the cats, and she was told they would be taken to a local shelter and killed.

“The Board of County Commissioners cannot dispose of key provisions in a duly enacted, valid law simply for political expediency,” explained attorney Chapman, who is Vice Chair of the Florida Bar Animal Law committee. “The Board’s actions are even more egregious because they eviscerated part of the feral cat ordinance without proper notice to the public and without a proper vote.”

“Brevard was one of the first counties in the U.S. to adopt Trap-Neuter-Return, putting it ahead of the curve,” added Robinson. “Since then, communities all over the country have adopted TNR as the only humane and effective approach to feral cats. Dismantling this successful program—based on a kneejerk reaction, without consideration of the facts—is the wrong direction for the community.”

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.