VANDALIA — The Vandalia City Council is considering passing an ordinance that would prohibit the feeding of feral cats and other wild animals.
Council discussed the issue on Monday evening and at Saturday’s special meeting after numerous residents have contacted them with complaints about stray cats.
Council Member Candice Farst called the cat problem “out of control” and said the council needs to act because and excess of cats also affects other animals.
Kathleen Durig, who lives on Bristol Drive wrote in an email to Mayor Arlene Setzer that a neighbor is leaving a garage door cracked allowing at least five cats to go in and out of the garage for food and shelter.
She spoke at Monday’s council meeting.
“Twice I have spoken to my neighbors to discourage the feeding and sheltering to the undisclosed number of nuisance cats that are defecating in my flowerbeds and preying on the songbirds feeding in my bird feeder,” said Durig.
She also noted that many feral cats have diseases, parasites, and other conditions that leave them in pain.
“I care deeply about the inhumane treatment of any animal, but…after research came to a startling realization,” Durig said. “Feeding and giving shelter to community feral cats that have had litter after litter of kittens who have never been seen or cared for by a veterinarian are doomed to a lifetime of misery. Because of this, I consider the feeding and sheltering of these community cats a form of animal abuse because it promotes the life-long suffering of these hapless creatures.”
City Manager Jon Crusey recommended to council that they pass a ban on feeding stray animals as phase one and monitor the situation and take further action if needed. He also suggested asking residents with bird feeders to raise them high enough to not attract other animals.
Crusey said he would write draft legislation based on West Carrollton’s ordinance. That ordinance, passed in 2013, says in part that “No person shall knowingly or recklessly leave food or any other type of feed outdoors so to attract animals running at large or wild animals.”
Exception is made in West Carrollton’s ordinance for feeding one’s own animals as long as it doesn’t attract other wild animals.
Violations of the city’s ordinance include leaving food outdoors after daylight hours or unattended and allowing stray or wild animals to feed on one’s property.
Crusey said that the Vandalia City Council would have draft legislation to consider at its March 6 study session.