Trapper removing feral cats attacked on social media

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 01, 2015, 5:26 PM EST

A Brevard County trapper hired by a community to deal with their feral cat problem is under fire from animal advocates.

Wildlife trapper James Dean was hired last week by the Seaport Oceanfront Condominium Association to remove seven feral cats from their property.

"They were spraying BBQ grills, their cars, their front doors," said Dean.

The cats were also attracting wilder animals like raccoons.

The goal was to round them up and hand them over to local rescue groups, where they would be given medical treatment and put up for adoption if possible.

But not long after Dean himself felt like the hunted, at least on social media.

A Facebook thread was started, and rumors began swirling he was trapping and killing the cats.

"Like myself, the association doesn't want these cats killed," he said.

The trapper put out a total of 13 traps. The next morning he found out three had been so damaged, he had to throw them away.

The original poster was Rachel Smith, an animal rights advocate from New York.

"When I first heard on Facebook that a condo complex in Florida hired a trapper to remove a colony of cats, I was enraged and feared for their safety,” Smith said. “What would he do to these cats?"

When word began to quickly spread, she decided to call the trapper herself and get to the bottom of it.

"She was a spokesperson for a rescue group, and for feral cats," said Dean.

Smith apologized to Dean, and went a step, further sending us this statement:

"He reported to me that his property has been damaged, he has received numerous harassing phone calls and has even lost work because rumors are running rampant, especially on social media. I feel terrible for him because I had witnessed this for myself and it’s a shame."

The condo association also sent out a notice to dispel the rumors the cats were being killed.

"He's just getting them out of here," said resident Ed Walker.

Condo complex residents say it should never have gotten to this level.

"These cats could pass on a disease to a human, I'm just glad they are being taken care of," Walker said.

"They like the fact they are going to a group to get the health care that they need," said Dean.

The following is the notice released by Seaport Condo Association: