VANDALIA — The Vandalia City Council passed an outdoor feeding ban for stray and wild animals on Monday night.
The measure was passed as an emergency ordinance and goes into effect immediately.
Council passed the ordinance in an effort to combat a growing problem with feral cats as well as other animals including raccoons and skunks.
Video of the meeting can be seen here:
Residents on Bristol Drive spoke in favor of the ban at the meeting.
“I support the ban on open feeding,” said Don Hutchison. “In the area I live in on Bristol it is basically getting out of hand. I’ve lived in the area since 1957 and I’ve never seen the animals so brazen.”
But Tasha Gibbs, a resident on Tionda, spoke against the ban.
“This ordinance turns good-hearted people into criminals,” said Gibbs.
She also questioned the effectiveness of feeding bans.
“Feeding bans have never scientifically been proven to work, but TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) programs do.”
Kathleen Durig, who also lives in Bristol Drive, voiced her support for the measure.
“This is a man-made caused problem” Durig said. “Good-hearted people are contributing to the problem.”
Council Member Candice Farst said that residents feeding birds and their own animals in a responsible way are not the target of the ordinance.
“It will be complaint driven,” said Farst. “If you are putting a lot of feed out that is attracting other animals and your neighbors complain that will be an issue.”
The Council welcomed the idea of a TNR program and said the feeding ban was likely just the first step in tackling the feral cat problem.
“If people want to do TNR that would be great,” said Mayor Arlene Setzer. “But the situation in our city is we need to do something immediately.”
“A handful of residents are causing the problem,” said Council Member Richard Herbst. “It is becoming a health and safety issue.”
Council Member Dave Lewis agreed.
“Nothing prevents a TNR program,” Lewis argued. “But we feel obligated to take aggressive action for he health and safety of the community.”