(WSVN) - A cat disappeared, leaving her hungry kittens behind. A friendly man started feeding them, but a neighbor threatened him and told him to stop. Is it legal to feed stray animals in your neighborhood? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Every day Eduardo mixes wet and dry food, then takes it around the corner where the cats wait for him. Seeing them eat makes him happy.

Alberto Diaz (son): “Very much.”

It began this past summer when Eduardo was walking his dog past a house that is being demolished.

Alberto: “And he noticed that these little kittens were left alone with no mother cat.”

Something had happened to the kittens’ mother. They were hungry, and Eduardo wasn’t going to let them starve to death.

Alberto: “Since August 20th, he hasn’t missed a day, even if it rains, a year. He hasn’t missed a day.”

Six months later, watching the growing cats, cats come running to eat when they see Eduardo makes it worth the work. Neighbors like seeing it as well.

Alberto: “Even as like kids come around with their parents and the little strollers and the kids come around to look at the cats while he’s there feeding them.”

When the cats finish eating, Eduardo then cleans up.

Alberto: “He waits until they’re done, collects plates back and then he goes.”

Shouldn’t be a problem, Eduardo thought, but of course it’s South Florida, so every neighborhood has that neighbor.

Alberto: “The neighbors, another elderly man, and he says the aggressive neighbor is like the bully of the block. He thinks he owns the block from everybody.”

The man told Eduardo to stop feeding the cats.

Alberto: “I’m trying to do a good thing keeping everything clean and everything, and you have a bully coming, being aggressive with me. He has a security shirt on, so does he carry a gun or does he not carry, we don’t know.”

The fellow lives three houses away. His threats towards Eduardo worried Al so much he sometimes comes to make sure his father is safe.

Alberto: “You can’t be doing what you’re doing. You’re being threatening to elderly people you can’t be doing and you’re a security guy? You should know better.”

Eduardo isn’t going to let the cats go hungry and still feeds them, but is it legal to feed hungry animals?

Howard: “Absolutely, yes. A city can ban it, but very few do, and an association can block you from feeding stray cats and dogs, but in most cases, you are free to feed them, and Eduardo can keep doing what he is doing in his Miami neighborhood.”

We went to the house where the neighbor harassing Eduardo lived. The gate was locked. We asked a fellow coming out to have the man call us. He never did, and Eduardo worries what the man may do now what he can’t stop him from: feeding the cats.

Alberto: “Is he going to poison the guys? Are you going to do something to the cats? Who knows.”

Well, Howard, is it legal to poison animals?

Howard: “It’s a misdemeanor to put poison out, and if an animal gets sick or dies, it’s a felony, and you can get up to five years in prison and don’t think you won’t get caught putting out poison because it seems every house has cameras now.”

That’s a relief for Eduardo, but to make sure the cats are safe, he wants to move them to his house and needs help.

Eduardo: “Si, yes, yes.”

Alberto: “So we can at least grab these cat and save them and bring them over cause once they are here at least they will stay around here and not be in harm’s way.”

Patrick Fraser: “Well, if you can help Eduardo out by loaning him a couple of traps to bring the cats to his house, let us know.”

Now, some cities and counties won’t let you feed strays in the park, but they should have a sign to let you know that, but as Howard said, in most places, it’s legal to feed the hungry animals.

A feeding frenzy of problems hitting you? Ready to scratch back and solve them? Don’t go astray! Let us come up with a purr-fect solution.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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