Charleston City Council Considers Bill Allowing the City to Steal Owned Cats

In West Virginia, Charleston city council’s ordinance and rules committee passed a draconian cat bill this week and sent it to the full city council for consideration.  How extreme is it, you ask?

Assistant city attorney Mandi Carter said the ordinance is different from the city’s already-on-the-books animal nuisance ordinances in that it gives the city the power to pick up and impound cats on private property without permission.

The bill includes fines for cat owners but fails to define how ownership is to be determined.  It also fails to address community cats – free living cats not socialized to people whose home is the outdoors – the group that is presumably the source of most of the complaints the city receives about cats.

The sole nay vote on the committee came from at-large Councilman Chris Dodrill:

“I totally understand that the perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good. But I also don’t think we should pass bad laws just to do something,”

Councilman Joe Deneault told the local paper, in essence, the council should pass bad laws just to do something:

“We’ve been looking for a perfect solution forever, and we haven’t even come close to finding it. This is a measure toward some solution. It may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than doing nothing,” he said.

And when he says forever, he means not forever.  Councilman Dodrill:

“We talk about this once a year for an hour. … I think we can work harder and figure something else out that’s going to work.”

On top of all this, the shelter and police department responsible for enforcing the proposed ordinance say they do not have the cage space or humane officers to do so. And even if they did, enforcing such a law would be a waste of time anyway:

“If time is spent on cat calls, there are animal control concerns, safety concerns, that go unattended in the community. So, vicious dogs; dog fighting; children being bit by animals. And when so much time is spent on cat issues, true animal control public safety issues go unanswered,” [Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association Director Chelsea] Staley said.

Ms. Staley told the committee that residents can use things like citrus and coffee grounds on their property to discourage cats from entering. Some guy who spoke in support of the ordinance wanted to know if irresponsible cat owners were going to foot the bill for the orange peels and the stuff left in the coffee filter that otherwise goes in the trash. Sounds like there was legitimate debate anyway.

The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association has put up an online petition calling for the bill to be tabled and replaced by something that makes a tiny bit of sense and doesn’t include stealing people’s cats.

If the Charleston city council would scrap this bill and be willing to consider a TNR program for its community cats, I would personally pledge to send my used citrus fruits and coffee grounds to that one guy worried about the cost.  Win-win?

(Thanks Clarice and Anne for the links.)

You Can’t Find the Pet You Want at Your Shelter Because the Director Killed Him

Infographic from the Shelter Pet Project.  (click to enlarge)

Infographic from the Shelter Pet Project. (click to enlarge)


Reliable data tells us that, of the people who will add a pet to the family within the next year, approximately 17 million of them have not yet decided on a source for that pet.  We have approximately 3 million friendly, healthy pets – or pets with treatable conditions such as colds – being killed every year in U.S. shelters.  So we have 3 million shelter pets to market to 17 million people each year.  This is an achievable goal.  It also completely disproves the notion that there aren’t enough homes for shelter pets.  And it’s not just Maddie’s Fund and the No Kill Advocacy Center saying so – the Humane Society of the Unites States now publicly agrees.  Pet overpopulation is a myth.

Not only are there enough homes for all the shelter pets being killed in America – there are way too many homes.  In other words, if we were to convince through marketing even half of this group of 17 million to adopt from shelters, we’d run into a serious shortage.  Because the fact is we don’t have nearly enough shelter pets for everyone who wants to add a pet to the family this year.  But right now, that’s not the problem.

The problem is that many people who would potentially be interested in saving a pet from the pound do not feel inclined to actually go there and adopt.  There are numerous reasons for this – and they are all readily fixable:

1.  The shelter is depressing.  Who wants to visit a place that functions primarily as a pet killing facility?

Solution:  Make lifesaving the primary function of the shelter.  Reach out to the community and engage them in your lifesaving mission.  Make the shelter environment warm and inviting, reflective of your focus to find homes for every healthy/treatable pet under your roof.

2.  The shelter is closed during the hours most people can visit.  Too many facilities are closed on evenings and weekends.

Solution:  Stay open on evenings and weekends.  Make sure the community knows you are open.  Run promotions during those hours.

3.  The shelter doesn’t have the specific type of pet the adopter wants – e.g. a calico cat or a dog weighing less than 15 pounds or a pet they feel a connection with when they meet.

Solution:  Stop killing animals.  The reason shelters often don’t have the type of pet people are looking for is because the staff is killing them.

Shelter directors and their staff are needlessly killing an estimated 3 million healthy/treatable pets every year. These are the animals who would have been adopted by some of the 17 million people looking to add a pet to the family this year and open to the idea of shelter adoption. Sometimes shelter directors make themselves feel better by labeling these animals “unadoptable” which is, at best, delusional and at worst, an outright lie created for the purpose of fulfilling pet killers’ desire to inflict violence upon shelter pets.

The math speaks for itself.  The proven solutions to common problems faced by all shelters are available.  So why are so many shelters still killing animals?

There are more than enough homes.  The animals are wanted.  People are out there every day of the week looking for the very pets being killed and thrown into the dumpster by regressive shelter directors.  How much longer will we as a society allow this to continue?  There ought to be a law.

The Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) is model legislation which takes away the discretion of shelter directors to kill randomly and in secret.  We can’t wait any longer for shelter directors to stop killing because it makes sense and it’s the right thing to do.  Like so many social injustices in our society, this one too will only be remedied by legislation:

The goal was never mere promises that we would strive to do better as a society. The focus was always on changing the law to eliminate the ability to do otherwise. The suffrage movement did not seek discretionary permission from election officials to vote, an ability that could be taken away. Its goal was winning the right to vote, a right guaranteed in law. The civil rights movement did not seek the discretionary ability to sit at the front of the bus or to eat at the same lunch counters. Its goal was winning the right to do so, a right guaranteed in law. Without legal rights, one’s fate is contingent on who the election official is, who the restaurant owner is, who the mayor is and in the case of animals entering shelters, who the director is.

“We’re doing the best we can” isn’t good enough. Blaming the public does not save lives.  We are a humane society and we don’t want pets needlessly killed in our shelters.  We want our shelter directors to do the work we pay them for – to shelter animals during their time of need.  Waiting for them to feel like doing their jobs is not going to cut it.  Legislation is needed.

If you want to be able to find the pet you feel a special bond with when you meet him at your local shelter, the director needs to stop killing animals and start doing his job.  CAPA can help you find your next pet.

The Myth of Unadoptable Shelter Animals

Puppy #269268 as posted on PetHarbor by the Memphis pound.

Puppy #269268 as posted on PetHarbor by the Memphis pound.

When we talk about shelter animals being adoptable, we are talking about them being able to love and be loved by a family who would give them a home.  By this definition, only those pets who have been deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian or in rare cases, dogs who have been deemed behaviorally hopeless by qualified parties after all rehabilitative efforts have failed would qualify as unadoptable.  All other animals in shelters are adoptable.  That is to say, there’s someone for everyone.  And it’s the shelter director’s job to find that someone for every one of the pets in their care.

In the case of feral cats, “someone” is the community – usually volunteer colony caretakers who feed and monitor free living neutered, vaccinated cats.  In other cases, “someone” might be an adopter, rescuer, foster or owner of a pet who’s gotten lost and been picked up by animal control.

Shelter directors encounter a wide array of pets and temperaments – from adorable toy breed dogs to large, strong dogs who don’t play well with others to cats too scared to interact with humans in a shelter environment.  Some pets will appeal to a large swath of the public, others to a narrower market.  It is the shelter director’s job to find that someone.

No pet is unadoptable due to age.  That is simply an excuse for killing, invented by lazy shelter directors who don’t feel like doing their jobs.  No matter how young or old, there is someone out there willing to love and be loved by that animal – in some cases, it’s the owner who has lost their beloved pet  It is ignorant and cruel to deny this.  Imagine if we applied the same standard to babies abandoned at hospitals or elderly people living on the streets.  Would we find such a person in need of care and tell them that due to their age, no one could ever possibly love them?  That there is no possibility anyone is looking for them due to their age and that death is truly the kindest option?  It sounds absurd because it is, no matter what group of sentient beings we are talking about.

Likewise, with the rare exceptions noted in the opening paragraph, no shelter pet is unadoptable due to health or behavior.  Like age, this is another excuse for killing invented by lazy shelter directors who won’t do their jobs.  Pregnant animals are adoptable.  Coughing animals are adoptable.  Pets with broken legs are adoptable.  Cats who hide at the back of the cage are adoptable.  Ninety pound dogs who haven’t yet been trained to walk on a leash are adoptable.  And again, there may be owners looking for any of these animals which is why that possibility can not be ruled out during the holding period and why shelters must make all their animals accessible by posting photos of all animals online immediately upon impound.

Granted, these special needs animals are not going to appeal to that wide swath of adopters and rescuers.  That’s why they call it work.  And why it’s so important that shelter directors have established relationships within the community, so they know how to best market pets with particular needs and who to call when they need help with certain animals.  Simply branding all, or any, of these animals as unadoptable and sending them to the kill room has become the standard protocol in too many so-called shelters in this country.  Shelter directors do it because they can.  And when they do it, they feed into the negative perception held by some that shelters only have broken animals.  That you shouldn’t adopt from a shelter because, as is often heard, there’s a reason those animals are there.  Their lives have no value – even the shelter director agrees because otherwise, why would he spend so much time killing them?  Nobody wants to kill animals, right?

The Companion Animal Protection Act is model legislation which takes away the discretion of shelter directors to kill randomly and in secret.  CAPA requires transparency and accountability from shelter directors.  It forces them to do their jobs by giving every animal in their care a chance to live and love and be loved.  For every animal advocate lamenting the arbitrary killing of pets by their local shelter director whom they believe will never willingly embrace the work of saving lives, getting CAPA passed in your community is an alternative worth exploring.

Proposed Legislation in MA Would Impact Shelters, Rescues and Fosters

Massachusetts is considering a set of state regulations that would subject foster homes to inspection by the Department of Agriculture, require rescue groups to register with the state every 12 months and establish minimum standards of care for shelters, rescues and foster homes.  These standards of care include:

  • Animals must be removed from cages during disinfection which is required “periodically and always before introducing a new animal.”
  • Animals must be kept clean and dry.
  • Veterinary care must be provided in a timely manner.
  • Animals must be allowed exercise outside their cages “regularly” and “be housed in compatible groups without overcrowding”.
  • Facility must maintain a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, including offsite adoption events.

Some additional notes from the proposed regulations:

  • Wire cage flooring is acceptable provided it meets some vague criteria.
  • Euthanasia must be performed by a veterinarian or a trained individual under the direction of a vet in accordance with AVMA guidelines.
  • “No Organization may offer for sale, advertise, or transfer” any animal who tests positive for heartworm or shows signs of other internal or external parasites.
  • Groups wanting to import dogs and cats must register every 12 months with the state.  Imported dogs and cats must have an Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection issued by a vet in the animal’s state of origin and must have been recently vaccinated.  Imported pets, other than owner surrenders from the New England states and New York, must be taken upon arrival to an isolation facility for 48 hours.  After the mandatory isolation period, the pet must be taken to a vet and receive a health certificate in order to be released from isolation.

Some MA animal welfare groups are unhappy with the proposed regulations.  If you live in MA, you have very little time left to make your voice heard:

The Department of Agriculture says it wants to hear your opinion on the proposed rules. You have until October 8th to give the state your feedback.


If you’d like to send the Department of Agriculture your comments regarding the proposed regulations, please email Michael Cahill at:

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

TX ACO Gasses Pets to Death, Cries When Activists Demand Change

The Mathis Animal Shelter in TX appears to be a catch and kill facility that is not open to the public for adoptions.  The police department oversees operations at the pound and Chief Byron Smith told an area TV news station that the kill rate is 99%.  The solitary ACO for Mathis, Jesse Lerma, has been accused of wrongdoing by animal advocates:

A handful of animal rights activists claim Lerma uses gas chambers to euthanize dogs, hand selects the dogs he wants euthanized based on personal vendettas, kills dogs that have already been paid for or adopted out, euthanizes dogs before the four day hold period, and may be selling dogs to pocket the money.

On January 1, it will be illegal to gas animals to death in Texas.  The police chief doesn’t give me the impression he’s interested in making any changes before that date.  The ACO’s response to the reporter’s questions doesn’t exactly reassure me either:

When our Elizabeth Hughes stopped by the Mathis Police Department for some answers, Officer Jesse Lerma fired back at his accusers. “They are trying to take over my shelter. If they want me to resign.. I will do that,” said Lerma.


Jesse Lerma also told us he wants to quit and left the building in tears.

I do not speak for the local advocates but personally yes, I’d like this ACO to resign.  Even if the allegations about retaliation killings, pocketing cash and killing before the hold period expires are never proven, the fact that he’s gassing 99% of the pets in his care is more than enough reason to my mind.  Get someone new in there, someone who loves dogs and cats and will get 99% of them out of the shelter alive.  I hope the local advocates keep pushing for reform.

(Thanks Clarice.)

History Rewrite: Miami-Dade No Kill Funding Referendum No Longer Will of the People

In Miami-Dade Co, a shelter funding referendum was passed overwhelmingly by citizens last November. The initiative would have provided nearly $20 million in annual taxpayer funding for programs aimed at reducing shelter intake, such as low and no cost neuter, as well as programs aimed at increasing live release such as an expanded foster program.

The vote was a non-binding referendum and therefore up to politicians to put it into effect.  Despite previous promises that they would honor the will of the people, the county commissioners and mayor have shredded the plan.  The Miami-Dade pound will now get zero dollars of the revenue brought in by a tax increase which people said they were willing to pay to help save shelter pets.  As a consolation prize, the mayor scrounged up 4 million “extra” dollars – not from any tax increase – to give to the pound.

[Mayor Carolos] Gimenez said that “common sense’’ dictates that more people oppose a tax increase than those who actually voted for it, and that he was listening to the will of the people in rejecting the Pets’ Trust proposal.

However, no one spoke against the tax increase during some five hours of public comment on Tuesday, and hundreds of emails to his and other government offices — a nearly three-inch stack, when printed out — tell a different story.


Among those who addressed the commission in person: Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill, his voice shaking with anger.

He said that as one of those who volunteered to raise their own taxes, he was “insulted’’ that anyone suggest he didn’t know what he was voting for, an argument that several commissioners made.

“I was keenly aware of what I was voting for,’’ Magill said. “Any one of you would love to receive [those votes], yet here we are still here today trying to convince you…It costs five times as much to euthanize an animal as to sterilize it.’’

The will of the people is overwhelming support for a tax increase to fund no kill programs at the shelter.  But the mayor doesn’t find it politically expedient to save shelter pets and so has determined that it’s only logical to believe that the will of the people is not represented by how they voted but rather by something he fabricated to fit his political career plans.  And he’s all for abiding by the will of the people.  The made up one.  Not the one in Uppity Reality Land.

The bottom line:

The mayor said […] he was elected on a platform to shrink government.

Translation:  Doing the people’s bidding does not necessarily equate with votes.  And it’s all about the votes.  Shelter pets be damned.  More.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Miami-Dade Commission Passes No Kill Measure

The Miami-Dade Co Commission voted unanimously yesterday to pass a no kill measure which was very popular with voters last year.  But it doesn’t mean an immediate end to the killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets.  Rather, it’s another yard gained in moving the ball down the field:

Commissioner Jose “Pepe’’ Diaz, the measure’s sponsor, said he would follow up with legislation authorizing Mayor Carlos Gimenez to budget the money that a $10-per-$100,000 property tax increase will generate for animal welfare, perhaps as much as $20 million annually.

And it’s not actually a full yard gained:

But missing from the final plan was a provision that animal activists considered crucial: dedicated, high-volume spay/neuter clinics in low-income parts of town with few veterinary hospitals.

The clinics fell on the chopping block when the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association voiced opposition, claiming its existing members could perform the additional 1500 spay-neuters needed on a weekly basis.  I’m sure they can.  But will anyone in the target markets be able to afford it?

The Miami Herald also reports that the Miami-Dade shelter has killed 30% of the pets in its care so far this year, as opposed to 40% in 2012.  Less killing is better than more killing – but it’s not good enough, and I am not sure when Miami-Dade intends to finally stop the killing.

I will be interested to see how the no kill measure progresses.  It’s unclear to me when county residents can reasonably expect to see any meaningful results – or even if such an expectation is realistic, thanks to the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association killing a key part of the plan.  It’s a shame the county commissioners lacked the commitment to follow through on their promise to let the voters guide the commission’s decision or the courage to stand up to the vets association.  The measure ultimately passed by the commission yesterday is not the one residents voted for and not what animal advocates said they needed in order to make no kill a reality.


Alabama Animal PAC Pushing Bill Which Will Save Zero Shelter Pets

My view that animal shelters can and should stop killing pets immediately is regarded by some as extreme.  There are many people who believe some period of time is required (months or years) in order to fully implement all the needed programs, personnel  and funding which will secure no kill for the long term.  During this transition period, pet killing continues, with a goal of steady reduction, and is regarded as a necessary evil.  I refer to this as transition killing.  And I wholly reject it.

There is an even more watered-down philosophy embraced by many animal activists which says that, “No kill can not be achieved until [insert your killing apologist claim-du-jour here].  Some of the many claims offered to extend the killing indefinitely are:

  • No kill can not be achieved until everyone spays and neuters their pets.
  • No kill can not be achieved until puppy mills are shut down.
  • No kill can not be achieved until we accept that we are all on the same team.

This tactic is nothing more than a carrot on a stick and it results in even more permanent damage than transition killing because there is no end in sight.  The date when any of these stated goals will be accomplished is never.  So when an animal activist embraces one of these indefinite delay tactics, what they are really saying is what they really believe, and what they hope to convince you to believe too:  No kill can not be achieved ever.  Again, I reject this philosophy entirely.

In Alabama, a political action committee called Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation (AVRAL) is lobbying for a mandatory reporting bill (HB 238) which would require shelters to submit annual intake and outcome numbers to the state. Failure to report is a Class A misdemeanor under the bill.  There has been significant objection to the bill from shelter pet advocates for several reasons, which I will cover in due course.  But suffice to say that the premise put forth by AVRAL seems to be yet another carrot on a stick:  No kill can not be achieved until we know exactly how many animals are in the system in the state.  From a recent mass e-mail sent out by the group:

In an effort to determine how many homeless animals need assistance in our state, [AVRAL] wrote the shelter and rescue reporting act, which simply asks for a tally of how many animals enter shelters/rescues annually, whether they are strays/owner surrenders, are adopted, euthanized, etc. The purpose is to define the scope and nature of the homeless animal problem in Alabama, it is a starting point from which we hope to assist shelters and rescues with their efforts. As I made clear, shelters/rescues didn’t create the problem, they are the ones left to clean it up. I urged everyone not to demonize shelters in particular: they are easy targets, but people tend to forget they didn’t put the animals there.

We knew shelters might resist releasing their numbers. What we did not realize was that certain groups—animal welfare groups included—would spread such overt lies and misinformation about our bill that we are left dumbfounded.

Although my gut reaction is to tell AVRAL to take its blame-the-public BS and shove it, I have to ask the logical questions which come to mind:

  • Who is going to pay to enforce compliance with this mandatory reporting which will make criminals out of any non-profit or municipal facility which fails to submit numbers?
  • Even if the funding for enforcement is obtained, there are still likely to be some non-compliant shelters so the true state totals may never be known – do we have to put off no kill even longer because of this?
  • For the sake of argument, let’s say every shelter in the state reports how many animals they are killing.  So what?  We already know shelter pets are being needlessly killed in AL, why do we need to pinpoint an exact number?  How will having that number change the need for an immediate end to the killing of shelter pets?
  • Why is AVRAL pushing a bill which does nothing to help save the lives of pets in shelters?
Dog #406248 at the Huntsville pound in AL, as pictured on PetHarbor.

Dog #406248 at the Huntsville pound in AL, as pictured on PetHarbor.

The Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) has a reporting requirement for shelters but it primarily outlines specifically how shelters must make lifesaving their primary function.  Minimum standards of care and access to the pets by groups willing to save them are key elements of CAPA.  If AVRAL wants to spend resources on pushing a bill, why is it ignoring CAPA in favor of HB 238 when its bill will not save the life of a single shelter animal?  Even if AVRAL doesn’t believe AL is prepared to enact the full CAPA, there is a modified version available, if what the group truly seeks is “a starting point from which we hope to assist shelters and rescues with their efforts”. CAPA clearly defines those efforts as saving the lives of shelter pets.  This is in stark contrast to AVRAL, which appears to define the mission of animals shelters as cleaning up after the so-called irresponsible public.

From the AVRAL mass e-mail:

HB 238 is a first step toward understanding exactly what we are dealing with, what we are paying for, when it comes to the tragic problem of companion animal homelessness. It is one of the most “common sense” bills ever introduced in the legislature.

I am not a PAC but common sense tells me that animal shelters should shelter animals, that instead of shelter directors doing their jobs they are killing the animals in their care, and that I don’t need to know the exact number of dead pets in order to demand an immediate end to the killing.  One is too many.  And since I know there is at least one, that’s all the information I need.  Common sense tells me that if I continually chase the “No kill can not be achieved until…” carrot, I will keel over before the lives of shelter pets are protected.  CAPA, or a modified version, would include the annual reports AVRAL desires but primarily would ensure that animal shelters do their jobs.  CAPA takes away shelter directors’ discretion to kill animals.  Common sense tells me that is a bill I would support.

Why are shelter directors killing pets whom rescue groups are willing to save? Because they can.

Many pet lovers are shocked to learn that most municipal facilities that call themselves animal shelters do not actually shelter animals. In fact, these so-called shelters kill pets rescuers are willing to save, because they can. More still are astonished when they learn that some of the private non-profits calling themselves humane societies or societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals are guilty of the same crimes against pets as the municipal facilities that kill pets who are wanted.

In the case of public facilities, pet advocates can and should petition their government for a redress of grievances. But historically this has been a mixed bag of results with far too many elected officials blatantly thumbing their noses at taxpayers who call upon them to force animal shelter staff to do their jobs. Our public servants delete animal advocacy comments from their Facebook pages, ignore e-mails and petitions, and refuse to meet with advocates in person. When they do address the issue publicly, it’s usually to give the pet killing facility a pat on the back while wagging their fingers at the “irresponsible public”.

When it comes to the private HS/SPCA organizations, well-meaning advocates sometimes believe they should report the needless killing of pets there to the “national” HS/SPCA, meaning the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The sad truth is that neither of these organizations is affiliated with your local shelter, even if the names are similar. Furthermore, HSUS and ASPCA are primarily fundraising organizations and will likely not intervene to prevent wanted pets from being killed by your local non-profit organization.

But there is a solution that addresses the needless killing of wanted pets, and offers numerous other protections for shelter animals, at both public and private shelters. It’s called the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA).  CAPA has already been passed in DE and has been introduced by legislators in MN, RI and WV.  Modified versions have been introduced in NY, TX, IL and FL.  More states will be announcing modified versions of CAPA on their legislative agendas soon.

CAPA 4_0001

CAPA lays out a number of important requirements for public and private shelters that include lifesaving, transparency and community participation.  Specifically, neither public nor private shelter directors would have the discretion to kill pets under CAPA without giving public notice nor would they be allowed to kill pets that a rescue is willing to take.

Too often on this blog, we hear from pet advocates who have been shafted by shelter directors committed to killing for arbitrary reasons and, in some cases, in retaliation for shining a light on their dark secrets.  Here is a way to do something about that.  Augment your existing animal advocacy (fostering, rescue, networking, etc.) with some political advocacy that will not only save pets’ lives, but help the people who love them too.

Do you want accountability, transparency and legal access to the animals in your shelter’s care?  If so, you want CAPA.  Talk to your state or local legislators about getting CAPA introduced to protect your community’s pets from those who are needlessly killing them, because they can.  CAPA would make needless and secretive shelter pet killing illegal, regardless of whether the shelter is public or private.  Under CAPA, we would not only protect the lives of shelter pets but the hearts and minds of pet advocates who currently suffer at the whims of directors, standing by their cabinets of Fatal Plus and scoffing at the so-called irresponsible public’s attempts to actually shelter animals.

TN City Enacts Pet Limit Law and Targets Cats for Killing

The city of Rockwood, TN recently enacted what sounds like a terrible anti-pet ordinance.  I wanted to read the actual ordinance but was unable to find it online so had to rely on the summary provided by an area news outlet:

Pet owners and advocates in Rockwood said they are upset over a new city ordinance that limits the number of animals they can have to five, and allows animal control to trap feral cats and stray cats, and euthanize them after three days.

The local news spoke to a woman who cares for 11 cats, seven of whom are feral.  She has trapped, neutered and vaccinated all but 2 of the ferals already.  But under the ordinance, she will have to choose which ones she wants to live (up to 5 total) and even then, the feral cats she cares for will still be at risk for being trapped and impounded by AC.  The only way for a Rockwood resident to own more than 5 pets is to obtain a kennel license and keep the animals on property in a commercial zone.  She told the news she is going to move out of the city.

“Our goal is not going out and trying to roundup all the cats in Rockwood,” said [Mayor James] Watts. “I hope people don’t think the city of Rockwood is an animal hater. We’re not. We’re trying to put the responsibility back on the citizens.”

The city of Rockwood should be trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats.  They aren’t.  Instead private citizens are doing it for them.  Now the city wants to punish them and kill their cats.  This is putting the “responsibility back on the citizens”?

Watts reassured people who take care of their animals properly would not be targeted.

Really?  How can the mayor possibly reassure anyone of that?  The lady with 11 cats is taking care of her animals properly but she would be targeted under the ordinance.  As will any cat who walks into a trap set by AC, regardless of who owns or feeds him.  Traps don’t know whose cats to target.

Punitive legislation doesn’t work.  I hope the citizens of Rockwood demand that the city abolishes this anti-pet ordinance.

(Thank you Peter M. for the link.)


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