Nova Southeastern University is threatening to fire any employee who feeds stray cats on its Davie, Fla., campus, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
The university said it is concerned about the cat food attracting other wildlife, including rats, raccoons, possums and Canadian geese.
“These animals carry diseases and may become aggressive when they encounter humans,” Daniel Alfonso, the university’s vice president of facilities and management and public safety, wrote in a July 19 email. “Additionally, these critters use our doorsteps, staircases, and other common areas as their toilets. That is unsanitary!”
The email said that feeding the cats “may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal (loss of employment) from Nova Southeastern University.”
Some people argue the feeding ban is cruel and counterproductive. One student said the cats have relied for years on feedings and can be seen crying and losing weight due to the lack of food.
“Feeding bans have been scientifically proven not to work after having been tried in many places,” Becky Robinson, president and founder of the nonprofit organization Alley Cat Allies, told the newspaper. “Cats in locations with feeding bans will roam for food, making them more visible and prompting calls to animal control. These punitive policies are impossible to enforce, cruel to cats, and punish the good Samaritans who are trying to make a difference.”
A spokesman for Nova Southeastern, Joe Donzelli, told Inside Higher Ed the university works with Broward County Animal Control and local veterinarians on a trap, neuter and return program whereby cats are caught, spayed or neutered, and returned to campus. “We recognize that feral cats will be part of our campus, which is why NSU has supported and advocated for trap, neuter and return since 2015,” Donzelli said. “This is the most appropriate and humane approach to the feral cat population on campus and works best to manage the situation. In addition the establishment of feeding stations is something that may be explored.”