The City of Jefferson has added a new aspect to an ordinance by addressing wild cat colonies.
Feral cats first became a problem in April 2018 when the city temporarily stopped issuing live traps to remove animals, including feral cats, from private properties. City Administrator Mike Palmer said in 2018 that police kill an average of one feral cat per month due to their behavior and health. Fast forward to last Tuesday’s city council meeting where the council approved the third reading to amend the Wildcat Colony Animal Control and Protection Ordinance.
Palmer tells Raccoon Valley Radio that the change will determine what a feral cat colony is and identify the individuals who will look after and feed them as colony keepers. He says there are responsibilities for caregivers, such as reporting cat numbers, providing medical assistance to them when needed, and for the cat’s actions against other people’s property.
“If you are a caregiver for these feral cats and those cats are on other people’s property and destroying plants and things, then you are responsible under the Harassment Ordinance.”
Another part of the regulation is using the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program, which Palmer explains how this works in wild cats.
“If they are spayed or neutered on TNR, they will and their ear will be nicked and they will be microchipped. Here, too, they will still be the responsibility of the colony person. “
Palmer adds that the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of feral cats in the city over time. The Council will review the data from the reports and assess whether the TNR are effective or whether changes need to be made. The amendment to the ordinance will come into force in mid-August. Palmer says the city has been issuing live traps to residents since then. However, he notes that the city will not remove the traps.