Taking care of animals is a big responsibility. Unfortunately, there are many pets that go without proper care. Being an owner of animal is a difficult job, so it’s no surprise that many fall short. However, the world does consist of many kind people who feel that it is their duty to look out for animals. News outlets recently picked up on a story of a man who was sticking his neck out for cats, despite some of his neighbors wishes. Paul Rodriquez of Gilbert, Arizona has recently found himself on the wrong side of the law. His crime? Allegations of lying to a police officer about feeding the local “feral cats.” When Rodriquez took up this hobby, it probably didn’t occur to him that his actions to lead to the slammer. It’s up to Rodriquez to defend himself now that the charges have been filed…but the story begins much earlier.
Rodriquez has a big heart for animals. It has been more than a decade since he started feeding the local feral cats around his community. The climate of Gilbert is both hot and dry and he feared that the cats might not have enough food or water to stay healthy. He took the onus upon himself to feed the local cats in the area. Many admire Rodriquez for his dedication but there have been a few naysayers which have put a hole in his plans. In fact, there was even a city ordinance passed in order to address the issue. The new rule was simple: no feeding feral cats on town property. Many would have thought that this would be the end of Rodriquez’s efforts, but he sought out to find a workaround. It didn’t take him long to realize that he could do his feeding on private property.
One of the first places he started doing the feeding after the ordinance was passed was on a plot of land across the street owned by a gas company. This is where the trouble starts with the law. Officers would often visit him and question what he was up to, but oftentimes to no avail. He continued to feed the cats on private property and deny any wrongdoing. When questioned about whether he had permission to the feeds on gas company property, he allegedly claimed he did. Officers called to confirm this with the property owner and got a strong denial, leading officers to believe that they had been lied to. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was soon taken into custody. It seems a bit unbelievable that so many people can get worked up over cats but feeding animals in this area is very serious business.
It is truly a sad day when people are arguing over feeding cats. But everyone has their reasons for their own positions. Rodriquez agrees with spaying and neutering the cats but believes that his feeds make it easier to get the job done. By building rapport with the cats, he is able to get closer to them. This allows them to more easily be spayed and neutered. Part of his feeding routine is to make the cats comfortable with humans. The hope is that this will translate into the animals getting better care and controlling the population. Though it is clear that not everyone in the neighborhood agrees with Rodriquez’s tactics. It has not been uncommon for neighbors to call the police on him in order to stop the cat feedings. Thus far he has found ways to keep the cats nourished, even if it comes at a great personal cost.
It may be hard to believe, but Rodriquez claims to have spent over $100,000 dollars taking care of the cats. Cat food is expensive, not to mention all of the other things that he does for them. It is a difficult job, but someone has to do it. There is no sense in letting these animals suffer just because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. The measures are taken largely to help control and stabilize the population. There is also hope that new kittens will find loving homes and no longer be feral. The best result in this scenario is finding an owner that will love and care for them. This could be a great win-win scenario given all the benefits there are to being a cat owner. Some scientists even claim that having a cat can have health benefits. If this is the case, then Rodriquez might live forever.
It remains to be seen how the judge will rule in the case. It is unclear at this moment if Rodriquez lied to a cop or not. Perhaps it was just a miscommunication at the gas company which forced the predicament. Everyone hopes that the issue is resolved quickly so he can return to his work of taking care of animals. There is hope that this case will be settled in a cordial manner because everyone just wants what is best for the animals. The neighbors calling the cops on Rodriquez believe that he is doing a disservice to them by feeding them. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold. It is important to keep in mind that this is all for the betterment of the cats’ living situation.
One thing is for sure. Rodriquez will continue to defend himself against the charges and do what he believes is right. Not many think that feeding cats can get you throw in jail, but he is very much pressing that boundary. It is unclear how the case will resolve but surely he hopes that the judge is an animal lover. Though if he is convicted, this wouldn’t be the first time that an animal lover was sent to jail for feeding feral cats. We all hope that Paul Rodriquez can avoid a similar fate.