Wichita debates plan for stray, feral cats

National News

October 2, 2018 - 10:53 AM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposed ordinance in Wichita would create “cat colonies” for stray and feral cats where they could live after being trapped, sterilized, vaccinated and released.
Wichita’s animal advisory board considered the proposal Wednesday to encourage residents to trap the cats they find on their property and turn them over to become “community cats.”
Under the resolution, the cats would be identified by “ear tipping,” having a notch cut in their ear, and would be exempt from capture and euthanasia at the city animal shelter unless they bite someone or otherwise cause a public nuisance, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Residents could feed and provide water for the cats without being subject to violating city regulations or animal-cruelty laws that apply to household pets.
The board was advised by lawyer Katie Barnett, representing the Best Friends Animal Society, who said she’s helped to set up similar ordinances in Kansas City, Kansas, Lawrence, Shawnee and other communities.
One opponent, Michael Nolan of Wichita, criticized the proposal and the board for discussing protecting the cats without considering the impact on other wildlife.
He said he found it ridiculous that the city board wants to make accommodation for “unwanted cats from irresponsible cat owners.”
“Feral cats need to be removed from the environment, removed, not coddled, not put up in colonies,” Nolan said. “The amphibians, the snakes, the birds, everything they can get they will kill. It’s what they do.”
Judy Handley, a leader of the Friends of Felines and former member of the city board, responded that trap, neuter and release reduces the stray population, but is more humane than capturing the cats and killing them.
“Trap and euthanasia has not worked because you get people who are cat lovers hiding their cats so you don’t find them,” she said.
She also said the proposed ordinance was studied for three years and “nothing else works.”
The City Council would have to approve the ordinance before it could take effect.

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