Proposed ban on feeding stray & feral cats creates controversy

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.