Proposed ban on feeding stray & feral cats creates controversy

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It is a problem that no community is immune to: stray and feral cats. York City Council recently tried to tackle the problem by proposing a ban on feeding stray and feral cats. The idea was, those who broke the law would receive a fine.

“There were some concerns about people feeding the cats. So the question started with, should there be some kind of law about that? Should you be able to feed the stray and feral cats in the city?” said City Council member David Satterlee.

The idea quickly garnered controversy at this weeks city council meeting. “A lot of people seemed to have concerns about it. Everybody is very passionate, everybody has strong opinions, pro and con on this,” said Satterlee. “People feel that there are folks that are coming in from outside of the city and feeding the cats and not taking responsibility for the cats. But, as we have looked at that more, we’ve seen that some of those people have actually been feeding the cats to build a pattern that leads them to be trapped, and then spayed and neutered.”

Because of all of the push back, City Council Members are now putting the idea on hold. “We felt like we had to go back into committee and do some more investigation into the ways other cities have handled this,” said Satterlee. “Some people are very concerned about the stray cats. They want to help them, and take care of them, and work with them. Some people just don’t want the cats in their yard at all.”

Another issue that has come up from this debate is Trap, Neuter, and Release Programs.

“Some people are concerned, and I think I am one of those people. I’m not sure I can get my head around trapping cats and releasing them. I get that they are spayed and neutered, but you are releasing them back into neighborhoods where people do not want them,” said Satterlee. “But, on the other side, there’s a lot of research that shows that a stable cat population over time will reduce, if the cats aren’t reproducing.”

“One of the arguments about having cats outside is they eat rodents, and that’s a good thing. But the other side is, you have people who say cats eat a lot of wild birds and that’s something nobody wants,” said Satterlee.

Satterlee said council members plan to take their time and come up with legislation that satisfies everyone.




  • Judith Fry

    It is all a part of the harmony of nature as well. Having said everything that has been said it isn't going away no matter what is done. As I have said repeatedly weather people like it or not we all live on the planet together and they just have to learn how to properly deal. We just can not start eliminating God's creatures just because we do not like them when they too have a purpose and a right to be here as well. When it is dealt with in the right way things will change. It is not right that people release/abandon their house cats or when people just decide they know longer want them take them somewhere else and dump them. This is where the problem has begun. There needs to be laws as there is with dogs against it. That is the very first place to begin. Then educating the public is a good second. If the feeding is going to be stopped I would like to know who is going to be coming around and cleaning up the remains of the cats that have died because of starvation. That in itself creates a whole new bigger problem. I live on Locust St. as well do not know of any trash being torn open but if not fed it could happen I am sure. I am here almost 9 yrs. and have not had any problems with the cats. Our population is the smallest it has been since I moved here but only because the people on this street have done their part to help the ones abandoned or dropped here. I do not like seeing cats killing birds either but that again is nature and keeping things in balance. I honestly can not believe the big deal some have made of this when this have been going on for centuries. They did not ask to be abandoned or thrown out and then treated poorly because their supposed intelligent human owners did so. I might mention here that I have a rescued cat. Actually he rescued me. He has been the best thing to happen in our house and twice now he has saved me when I stopped breathing at night by waking me. Did not see that coming but this was confirmed by a Dr. So another way they play into the balance of things here. Not only dogs can be hero's…………….so how do we treat a hero?

  • MM227

    No, it is NOT nature. House-cats are an invasive exotic species that does not belong here.

    1) Remove the existing cats. Allow the cat advocates to find indoor homes for those that are tame. Allow them to keep those that are wild in enclosures on their own property if they wish (subject to animal quantity limits laws). Euthanize the rest.

    2) Enact and enforce anti-feeding laws.

    3) Enact and enforce garbage containment laws.

    4) Enact and enforce spay/neuter laws for all pet cats.

    5) Enact license laws and require micro-chipping for all pet cats.

    6) Enact and enforce containment/leash laws for all pet cats.

    TNR is not a cat population reduction plan. TNR is a "keep the cats alive at any cost" plan. TNR has been going on in the U.S. for over 25 years now. Name 3 towns that have eliminated their feral cats using TNR.

    • Yorker

      If you eliminate the feral cats altogether you will end up with rats, Baltimore has rats the size of terriers. Heck, the Bubonic plague in Europe got a toehold in large part due to the idiots who slaughtered and burned cats along with the witch hunts.

      The LAPD has taken in recent years to actually introducing and maintaining feral cat colonies to combat their rat problems. The "Working Cat" program has been a success over there.

  • Colt

    Hardly a day goes by that I don't have too clean cat crap from my porch or yard or listen too them fighting in the middle of the night. I don't hate them in fact II have owned two that both lived to be well over 15 years old. I never let mine run outside intentionally and anyone who does is irresponsible. My neighbor feeds birds, cats, racoons and any anything else that will come around. If your cat disappears don't both looking home for it. While I won't kill it I will trap it and relocate it far away (many miles in the wilderness). I have the right to live in peace also!!

      • Yorker

        That's not going to get you peace, what you need to do is to figure out where the cats are coming from. We had a hoarder who was the cause of all of our feral cat drama (the house was a disgusting mess when he finally left, dead cats, pee and poop everywhere). It was like a very foul kitty brothel, none of them were fixed or had their shots or anything. That sort of thing is very illegal.

  • Yorker

    Actually the birds were becoming a nuisance, pooping all over everything and crowding around my back yard like an Alfred Hitchcock movie whenever my neighbor didn’t feed them quickly enough. We’ve been doing TNR here for a few years and there are two 4-5 year old spayed cats who hang out in my yard and keep the moles away and the squirrels and birds within bounds. I hope they study Carlisle, it looks like they have had good success with their program.

  • Cat Lover

    Steelton (Dauphin County) was highly successful with their TNR… no kittens born in years. Killing the cats or relocating them isn't the solution. There are certain ways to successfully relocate a cat and dumping it in the wilderness (presumably unfixed) is just giving someone else your problem and it's unkind to the cat. And it's not the cat's fault – it's York City residents who were too lazy/cheap/stupid to fix their pets and then they let them roam and make more cats. Or they move and leave their pets there. The cats aren't the issue. PEOPLE are the issue. THEY started this mess. Don't take it out on the cats!

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