Casablanca Hotel Caught Trapping Miami Beach Cats, At Least Eight Euthanized

Categories: Flotsam
Casablanca_cat_trap.JPG
casablancamiamibeach.blogspot.com
A cat trap behind the Casablanca Hotel on Collins Ave. in Miami Beach
Since when did Miami become the Guantánamo Bay Prison of the animal kingdom? First there were puppy mills in Liberty City, then outrage over questionable conditions at Miami-Dade Animal Services. Now even the formerly pet-friendly streets of Miami Beach are looking menacing for anything on four legs.

According to animal rights activists and county officials, the Casablanca Hotel on Collins Avenue at 63rd Street has trapped at least a dozen cats over the past six weeks in metal cages left out overnight. At least eight of the cats were put down.

"This hotel is trapping them on the property and taking them to Animal Services to be euthanized," says John Curbelo, a local who led a small protest outside the Casablanca in a week ago. "It may be perfectly legal to do it but it's totally distasteful."

When Riptide visited recently, the scene behind the Casablanca seemed normal enough, at least at first. South American tourists meandered from the patio to the beach, smoking cigarettes. An octogenarian wheezed for help retrieving his nose plug from the bottom of the pool.

But something was amiss. Suddenly a terrified black and white cat darted out from the dunes, as if fleeing from shadowy agents trying to whisk it away to a black site for water boarding.

Turns out, that's a pretty accurate description of what's been going on. When contacted, Casablanca receptionists pleaded ignorance. The building's property management company, however, admits that it purchased the traps but claims it doesn't have kitty blood on its hands.

"We got a couple of letters from the Miami Beach Department of Health putting pressure on us to remove all cats from the area because of hookworm in the feces," says L&C Royal Management's Jonaylie Lopez. "We didn't want to hurt animals. We thought that where we were taking them was fine," she explains. "The Miami Dade Humane Society gave us a certificate for every single cat."

Actually, no. They didn't.

"We didn't get any of those cats," counters Human Society spokeswoman Laurie Hoffman. "We don't even take feral cats." Instead, records show that Casablanca employee Johnny Matos took the twelve felines to Animal Services, where eight of them were euthanized.

Meanwhile, the Miami Beach mayor's office says it didn't push the hotel to trap the fur balls. "We've never done that," says chief of staff (and former New Times writer) Rebecca Wakefield. "After the hookworm outbreak, we asked hotels to clean behind their areas where people feed the cats... but we never asked them to trap them."

Although the hotel has stopped trapping the cats since the protests started, Curbelo says that there is a bigger issue at stake. Not only does he think other hotels are involved, but euthanasia doesn't even make sense.

"People think you can just kill the cats and hookworm will go away," Curbelo says. "But more cats will just take their place." Instead, the city needs to put more money towards its recent sterilization campaign, he argues. "We're hoping it will become a campaign issue."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Ecoguy32
Ecoguy32

Good job Casablanca, more hotels should do this

Catsi01
Catsi01 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I've owned and always loved cats, until 6 months ago I moved into a townhouse community with an overpopulation of feral cats. These cats are disgusting! They pee and defecate all over my yard, disrupt my sleep at 3am, infest the yard with fleas, hiss at my dog when I walk her, kill birds in front of my porch, and make a mess with the garbage neighbors leave out. Simply put they have become a big pain in the ass. I love cats but this is too much… if they are stray kill them. They have unwillingly become MY problem. And Miami-Dade says its not there problem either, good job! Also, if you are only feeding those damn cats that doesn't mean they belong to you! Stop feeding it outside, spay or neuter it and take it in your house( if you care so much).

Zipper
Zipper

I agree with catsi, for all you cat loves ...pick them up and trick those hookworm infested rodents in your house. if you care about them so much then deal with them and their disgusting diseases. All you cat lovers should take action and adopt all these cats then...

Jmuhilly
Jmuhilly

What is going on down in FL? I know I won't spend any vacation dollars in that state!!!

Adrienne Miami
Adrienne Miami

While I understand the Casablanca does not want the cats living there, the cats dont know that... and shouldnt die as a result. There are ways to recolate feral cat colonies and better yet, the Casablanca could us this as an opportunity to teach the community about trap - spay - release.

Justhumor
Justhumor

Warning Humor! But I think there are too many people on the beach..... let's trap them and send them off to die..... More room for the cats.

KittySpark
KittySpark

How could management of a hotel in Miami Beach plead ignorance on the fate of these poor cats sending them to Miami Animal Services? management of a hotel located in a pet friendly city like Miami Beach should be able to find proper resources and be more knowlegeable about this issue. Cats are of no harm, and some of the ones removed may have been sterilized and give rabies shots by members of a cat rescue group. CasaBlanca hotel management and employees need to learn on how to contribute to the community without sending the poor cats to death.

The Truth about the issue.
The Truth about the issue. like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's inconceivable and unconscionable why any human would kill a member of God's creation - a cat - a member of the animal kingdom that is causing no harm to human's, but is, in fact helping people by reducing the number of rodents which are naturally rampant in areas of high density housing / living areas. Cats serve as a real advantage to rodent control. Beautiful cities like Rome are known for the many stray cats that live in and around the city. Locals citizens take care of the cats with respect and pride because they understanding the part cats play in the business of pest control.

Removing & killing cats does not alter the chain of breeding of cats that have not spayed or neutered, as many mistakenly believe. Killing / removing cats only creates a void where other cats then move in to take the place of those who have been removed, which then continue to breed, ad infinitum. The ONLY ANSWER is to SPAY / NEUTER the cats and return them to the environment where they were living. The healthy cats (those that were fixed) keep the cats that were not fixed out of the colony, thereby capping the population with a healthy group of spayed / neutered animals that will not reproduce, but will keep rodents away from the high density housing environment. The fact that the Casablanca management would destroy the cats around their property shows their total lack of understanding and true ignorance of the science of Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) and how TNR works to CAP POPULATION GROWTH of cat colonies by allowing the sterilized to survive over the un-sterilized cats.

The science of TNR is recognized and practiced world-wide; in many parts of the U.S., in China, India and elsewhere. Killing cats is not only inhumane and wrong, it is stupid and goes against all that has been learned by vets and scientists around the world. The answer is NOT to kill, or remove cats, but to sterilize through the practice of TNR. The real irony is the Casablanca is actually creating a BIGGER PROBLEM for themselves and the local community by going against the laws of proven science and nature! BOYCOTT the CASABLANCA and any other establishment that choose to kill cats over practicing the science of TNR. If proven science does not enlighten or educate the management and property owners, perhaps the cold economics of people not spending their money to stay in a hotel where ignorance and murder abounds will.

Animalregs
Animalregs like.author.displayName 1 Like

Feral cats are a health problem, an environmental problem and a problem for all other species upon which they prey. They are NON-native to the US and do not belong running around outside. Hookworm is not a nice disease and no one should be exposed to it just because cat lovers are blind. Cat feeders, IF you love those cats, catch them, neuter them and SECURE THEM...do not return them to the streets and parks. Get responsible. TNR is b.s. Scientists have disproved the effectiveness of TNR over and over. It is a feel-good solution, not a real solution. Life on the streets is not fun for these cats, it isn't safe. But, life in a secured enclosure would be best for these wild cats. There are well designed cat enclosures where the cats can be outside, run, play, climb, and be fed and vetted on a routine basis. That is the only solution that makes sense IF you are going to keep these feral cats alive. Keep in mind that the feral cats are the ones who have delivered feline leukemia to our native Florida panthers. Just one example of why cats do not belong running around wild. While some deplore the euthanizing of these cats, I would have a lot more respect for that position if these kind hearted folks were also concerned about the massive murdering of our native wildlife by these feral cats...wildlife that belong to all of us. Wildlife that are being eaten alive by feral cats. Think about that for awhile!

rescue_soldier
rescue_soldier

Well, dogs came from the Middle East, rabbits came from Europe and ferrets come from Asia and Europe so I guess most of our pets are non-native species.

TNR is not bs, it has been used successfully in many cited instances. Ideally, all cats and dogs would have loving homes; but this world is far from ideal. The most humane way to reduce the overpopulation of stray cats in sterilization and immunization. All Miami Beach cats that are trapped and sterilized through the efforts of the City of Miami Beach, The Cat Network and other associated rescue efforts are vaccinated against rabies and treated for fleas, hookworm, and roundworm.

Think again!
Think again!

Animalregs....your reply shows you are completely clueless! You have no foundation for your comments condemning the positive effects of TNR and the so called negative effects of feral cats. Cats were always wild until the Egyptians "domesticated" some, thus feral, or cats who were born and live in the wild was the natural state of cats living in balance with nature. Get your facts right. TNR is the most effective solution available and is practiced in many areas throughout the country and the world. Do the research and you might learn something new.

MiamiAngel
MiamiAngel like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thank you to John Curbelo and New Times for bringing this issue to light! It shows how much we need to educate residents, business and community about homeless cats. Most people know little to nothing. I know I was one of them until I was enlightened. Please know there are many low cost clinics to have your pet or stray cat spayed/neutered. Just visit www.thecatnetwork.org for a listing.

MB resident
MB resident

"Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."

- Mark Twain Notebook, 1894

Dylan
Dylan

I am with the Casablanca and this article has many errors in it. number one The state of Florida health department told us to get the catrs out of our pool area or they may close our pool and deck area. They also told us to get after the city of Miami Beach to do more about this miami beach Problem. When we went to miami beach and told them what we were doing we were complemented for being the first in the are to take positive action to solve the problem. Now politics are involved so everyone is running away from the problem. Amazing how four out of five commnets were against the article and for further trapping. It is easy to critisize but no one is living with thirty catsw roming around their pools in their back yards urinating all over. Where are car rescues that will take care of these cats, NOWHERE. So many cat lovers but non that will take care of them. So who would like to be the one to accept the2,500 cats that roam the fory block area. What are the solutions. Go out there and see if you see a single human working on this issue. The casaablanca is a pet friendly building and you are welcome to have a pet up to 20 lbs. So all you cat lovers come and adopt them, take care of them and save them yourselves.

MiamiAngel
MiamiAngel like.author.displayName 1 Like

Dylan,As a volunteer for the Cat Network, I can offer some helpful tips. First, most people don't like the idea of killing innocent cats. They did not ask to be born homeless. And they can live outdoors happily with a little care. At the Cat Network we follow the philosophy of the US Humane Society, TNR "Trap-Neuter-Return. Many people have commented on "trapping the cats". But what are they really suggesting? To kill them after they are trapped or to sterilize them and return them to their home so they can live humanely? The TNR approach is where one traps, neuters and returns the cat to its home. By portion feeding the cats and leaving them water, means they will NOT come to the pool deck to drink water. They then become hotel pets without reproducing, no more howling from mating and no more hookworm. Even feral ones make acceptable outdoor pets. Other organizations have turned this problem around to their advantage. EXAMPLES: the island of St. Thomas has built colorful Cat cottages in sections of the tourist beach and all the cats are sterilized, hence it becomes an "attraction". It is absolutely charming. I bet if your hotel did that, it would become "unique" and get more positive media coverage. At Smith & Wollensky, they faced a similar problem. They asked for our help, and a team of volunteers trapped all the cats, had them sterilized and returned them outdoors. If you eat outdoors at this famous landmark restaurant, you will see several cats and they will come up to you. If you don't like cats, then you have the option to eat indoors. This was the humane approach and many volunteers worked hard on this weekend project. There are far less cats there today than last year. Also, I would strongly encourage you to read the book "Dewey" about a homeless cat stuffed in a library drop box on a freezing night. Long story short, the library adopted this cat and this cat became world famous. The book became a New York Times #1 bestseller. Again, my point is that you can turn this around to the hotel's advantage and everyone is happy. Most importantly, as a "new cat" comes onto the scene, you get it sterilized and you will notice the cat population decrease.

The key is working with organizations like City of Miami Beach and the Cat Network for a win-win situation. I live in downtown Miami and we're starting to see this problem and so my plate is overflowing in educating residents and businesses and controlling the homeless cat population. But with a little planning and communication, you can turn this around! All the best, Christine

MB resident
MB resident

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

Mahatma Gandhi

Dogperson
Dogperson

Keep trapping. Feral cats are a huge problem all over, not just on the beach. If someone wants to adopt them (after being neutered) from Animal Services, fine. If not, that is fine too. Just get them off of the streets so they stop producing even more feral cats. And a note to the author regarding "formerly pet-friendly streets of Miami Beach": Pets have owners. Feral cats are not "pets". We wouldn't stand for packs of wild dogs roaming the streets, or for hordes of rats. These cats aren't much different. The well intentioned people who feed them only make the problem worse.

MiamiAngel
MiamiAngel

Actually dog person, feral cats can be outdoor pets. I feed several of them in my neighborhood. While they come within millimeters of my hand while I feed them, they will not allow me to pet them. They are fearful of the hand approaching them. Yet they sing merrily and "dance" and run up to me the second I call their names and they come out of hiding for food. I feel like Cinderella. It's the most incredible feeling. BUT I had them all sterilized. So the same 17 cats remain for past two years. Had I not done this, there would be over a 100 cats. The point is they live happily outside and are not reproducing. I could not stand for them being trapped and sent to their death. It's a win-win for the cats and the community and moreso, passerbys thank me and it has become an "attraction" in my neighborhood. Most neighbors are thankful and enjoy having them around. THEY KEEP AWAY THE RATS! Are you familiar with the history of Miami Beach? I give tours of the city and explain the history that this place was literally infested with rats and crocrodiles. So Carl Fisher brought in cats to get rid of the rats and it worked! But now we face a homeless cat population. My neighbors are grateful we don't have any rats.

Oblakbob
Oblakbob

This demonstrates the need for more burmese pythons

rescue_soldier
rescue_soldier

yes, pythons that eat ignorant people who think they are clever

Miami_Social Twitter
Miami_Social Twitter

I agree with CatLover. Keep Trapping them! The cat situation on North Beach is out of control. I live right on Collins and 55th street and you can't take a walk without seeing dozens of feral cats. The Hookworm outbreak was first reported at the Carriage Club, this report is from Casablanca... That's like 20 blocks of sandy beaches full of cat shit.

Think again.
Think again.

Read the many comments below and you'll learn about this history of bringing cats to Miami Beach, about the science of TNR and how the two can work together to making Miami Beach healthier and better than it ever would be w/out a single cat. Btw, with regards to the hookworm outbreak, don't forget about all those dog owners who don't clean up the poop their pups make when they walk them along the beaches and how that plays into the whole environment. Have you ever watched a cat poop? It covers up what it does to keep the area "clean" because cats are some of the cleanest animals in nature. Ever see another animal (dog, human or other) that has done the same?

CatLover
CatLover

They should keep trapping them. Less cats mean less kittens who continue the cycle of suffering. Spay and neuter your cats!!!!!

Guess again.
Guess again.

Read the comments below and you might change your mind about trapping cats means less cats and less suffering.

MiamiAngel
MiamiAngel

Trap and Sterilize! But please don't send them to their death! Why should they die for the ignorance and irresponsibility of humans?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...