This is to be submitted in hopes of changing the laws to include provisions to allow stray and feral cats the opportunity to live not as nuisances, to be trapped, removed, and euthanized, but as free animals in colonies where they will be allowed to live out their lives.
Some degree of selling my soul to the devil has been necessary. In the following ordinance, I have had to maintain the rights of Scranton's residents to have stray and feral cats removed if subjectively believed to be a nuisance. People shall not be forced to love and live with stray cats, which means the cats may die. History will hate me for that. But without it we're dead in the water, and another thousand stray and feral cats which we might otherwise save, including friendly ones and healthy ones, will die in 2016.
If you can't deal with animals dying, you can't help them live. We can't be hippies, believing in an imaginary idealized world. Fairytales don't help animals. Or anyone. We need to be punk rockers, wanting a better world but knowing there's work to do to change it, and raging at the chance to be the ones to do that work. (apologies to Joe Strummer for abducting his comparison. Full credit at end of entry).
Here goes. Draft #2. Holy shit. I wrote this. My English degree actually got used!
FILE OF COUNCIL NO. ?
CHAPTER 169 ARTICLE 3 STRAY AND FERAL CATS
Section 1. DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS
For the purposes of this ordinance, the following words shall designate meanings as interpreted below.
(a) COLONY - group of two or more stray and/or feral cats which inhabit an area suitable to meet their needs of food, water, and shelter
(b) COLONY MANAGEMENT - the voluntary actions of individual City residents to assist cats living in colonies, which for this ordinance will include (1)providing food, water, and shelter to a colony, (2)continuous trapping of colony cats for the purpose of spaying, neutering, and administering rabies vaccines or microchips, as well as trapping of any kittens for removal, domestication, and adoption if applicable (3)continuous observation of colony for signs of distress, disease, injury, pregnancy, severe parasite infestation, and other problems among individual colony cats, as well as the appearance of new cats, and willingness to trap such cats for purposes of veterinary care, spay or neuter, humane euthanasia, or appropriate placement elsewhere, and (4)maintaining the sanitation and appearance of colony premises to prevent odor, parasite, or eyesore nuisances in compliance with City ordinances
(c) EAR TIP - surgical removal of 1/4 of the tip of one ear, performed by a qualified veterinarian during spay or neuter surgery, intended to identify a stray or feral cat as having been spayed or neutered.
(d) FERAL - describing any cat of common domestic breed which is characterized by intense fear of humans, propensity to hide, hiss, bite, scratch, etc. if approached, confined, or handled by humans, and other nondomestic behaviors. Feral cats also demonstrate adaptability to thrive in outdoor environments and inclement weather with minimal or no human assistance, similar to wildlife.
(e) STRAY - describing any cat of common domestic breed which roams at large unclaimed by any person as an owned animal. Stray cats include most feral cats but also cats which are dependent upon human care which have been lost or abandoned.
(f) TNR - acronym for Trap-Neuter-Release or Trap-Neuter-Return, a population control method by which cats are trapped, neutered or spayed, and returned and released to the area in which they had been living as stray or feral cats.
(g) VOLUNTEER - person with vested interest in animal welfare who manages or takes part in management of colonies or TNR activity, who pays out-of-pocket colony management costs, and who has demonstrated sound mental health with regards to animal care, as well as physical and financial ability to commit to providing assistance to stray and feral cats using humane and realistic judgment. Volunteers do not hold ownership rights or responsibilities to the stray and feral cats which they serve unless they choose to adopt any of the cats or kittens which they serve.
Section 2. FINDINGS AND POLICY
A. stray and feral cats roaming free within the City are typically reported as nuisances, trapped by Animal Control, and euthanized at Griffin Pond Animal Shelter due to high demand for animal surrender resources combined with low demand for cat adoption,
B. all such cats roam at large as a result of human failure to keep confined, failure to spay or neuter, and deliberate abandonment of cats once adopted as pets,
C.the current population of stray and feral cats within the City is excessive and thus far uncontrolled by trapping, removal, and euthanasia of approximately over five thousand stray and feral cats and kittens within the last seven years, a significant number of those euthanized observed to be neither unhealthy nor unfriendly by the Scranton Animal Control Officer,
D. stray and feral cats are protected under Pennsylvania State Crime Code 5511C, or Cruelty to Animals,
E. residents of Scranton wishing to surrender unwanted pet cats or found stray cats to Griffin Pond Animal Shelter have reported to the Scranton Animal Control Officer, on numerous occasions, that their request to surrender a cat has been declined or deferred by the shelter, which is one of the few local establishments which provides this service, leaving no humane and legal resources for those with unwanted cats,
F. TNR services at low cost, (not previously available) have recently become available, enabling residents to spay and neuter stray and feral cats only if such cats are to be returned to the location at which they were caught for the cost substantially less than those of taking cats to the shelter for adoption or euthanasia,
G. Scranton Animal Control has observed significant numbers of residents expressing concern for the welfare of stray and feral cats and willing to take actions to assist in their interest, who also show willingness to cooperate with the law, their neighbors, and City officials to humanely decrease Scranton's excessive feline population,
H. TNR as described and intended by this ordinance has been used for over a decade in large municipalities as a standard of Animal Control, and its effectiveness reported for controlling of nuisance cats exceeds the effectiveness of trapping cats as nuisances and having them euthanized, which often has to be done year after year within the City,
I. stray and feral cats present minimal health and safety hazards to humans when vaccinated against the spread of disease (as required by this ordinance), when not handled or responsibly handled by humans, when not kept in unsanitary conditions, in areas of high vehicle traffic, or in close quarters with persons who suffer allergies or other medical conditions; additionally the presence of stray and feral cats has been known to provide the benefit to society of rodent and vermin control,
...the FOLLOWING exception to 169-3 (cats prohibited at large) may be provided for by this ordinance which shall apply to stray and feral cats unclaimed by any person. Such cats are expected to typically live in outdoor environments or uninhabited manmade structures which they have invaded without known deliberate introduction by humans. Any stray or feral cat taken in and cared for by any person is no longer considered stray or feral as described by this ordinance, and whoever has taken such cat into their home has adopted that cat and assumes all responsibilities of ownership.
169-27 Nuisance of cats prohibited on private property.
A. No cat shall create any nuisance upon properties of persons who do not wish presence, noise, odor, or any other indication of stray or feral cats. This ordinance reserves property ownes' access to any Animal Control services for the permanent removal of any nuisance cat upon their property, regardless of cat's association with any colony. Owned cats should be microchipped or identifiable by collar and tag, and can be picked up at the animal shelter if trapped as nuisance cats, after which the owner is required to keep cat indoors.
169-28 Authorization of colonies meeting certain criteria.
A. One or more volunteers may establish or serve existing colonies for the duration of time as those volunteers are providing or taking part in providing all of the following services:
(1) adequate food, water, and shelter to be provided and maintained regularly
(2) ongoing trapping for the purposes of TNR, administration of vaccines against infectious disease, and removal of any kittens for domestication and adoption as applicable
(3) ongoing observation of colonies for new cats, cats in distress, cats showing signs of injury, maladaptation to colony life (in cases of abandoned cats previously dependent on indoor life), disease, pregnancy, severe parasite infestation and/or any other problems for which temporary or permanent removal from the colony is warranted. Volunteers must be willing and able to endeavor trapping or otherwise removing any such cats for purposes of veterinary care, sterilization, or humane euthanasia if necessary.
(4) maintaining the sanitation and appearance of the premises of the colony in compliance with City ordinances to prevent odor, parasite, or eyesore nuisance.
B. No colony may be established in any place or in close proximity to any place where danger to either cats or humans is likely and forseeable as a result of the presence of a colony. This most emphatically excludes the following places as acceptable colony premises: islands between two lanes of a highway, neighborhoods with a high incidence of nuisance cat complaints and known hostility, aversion, and opposition to stray and feral cats, areas along busy main roads, grounds of medical facilities, and grounds of establishments which provide outdoor play areas for young children.
169-29 Ear tip.
A. Sterilized stray or feral cats are to receive ear tip at the time of sterilization surgery to identify that animal as sterilized.
169-30 Offenses against authorized colonies and colony cats
A. Vandalism and/or theft occurring upon or to the diminishment of authorized, responsibly managed colony premises prohibited. Punishable under PA theft and vandalism laws, in which volunteers who have paid for colony resources to be cited as victims of these crimes.
B. Intentional harm by any person to any stray or feral cat is punishable under PA Crimes Code 5511C.
169-31 Tampering with traps prohibited.
A. No person shall remove, steal, damage, or otherwise interfere with cat traps set by City officials or volunteers responsibly maintaining an authorized colony, whether for purposes of nuisance trapping, TNR, or colony health maintenance.
B. No person shall release any cat from a trap set by city officials or volunteers responsibly managing an authorized colony without legitimate purpose, including observation that the cat has been held in trap unattended without access to shelter, food, or water over 24 hours, identification of the trapped cat as a known owned pet, identification of the trapped cat as a nursing mother of kittens too young to survive without maternal sustenance, and negative identification of the trapped cat as specific cat intended to be caught in cases of 169-28 (2) or (3).
169-32 Colony relocation, removal; disposition of colony cats.
A. It is the responsibility of volunteers to apprehend and remove all colony cats when the premises of the colony are subject to changes which render the premises no longer suitable to sustain the feeding, watering, and sheltering of colony cats. These changes include property ownership transfers, written order to remove the colony by the landowner or landholder of the colony premises, changes to the colony premises due to natural phenomena such as flooding or other natural disaster, utility resource construction activity, and any other alteration in the suitability of the colony premises. Volunteers can obtain some assistance with humane removal of the cats from officials and reputable animal rescue organizations.
B. Cats may be removed and colony operations dismantled if volunteers cease to maintain the colony as required by 169-28 A.
C. Disposition of colony cats removed under A and B of this provision may be negotiated by volunteers, officials, and charitable animal welfare organizations if these agents find appropriate successful placements or holding arrangements (pet stores, fosters, etc) for colony cats within sixty days. These placements must not allow cats to be abandoned or subject to inhumane treatment, including gross neglect and overcrowded environments. Otherwise, officials may take custody of any stray or feral cat for transport to the animal shelter.
"I started out a hippie, and I ended up a punk. I'd say the difference was, hippies were trying to believe in the illusion of an alternative world, and punks knew that to create that alternative world something had to be done"
Is punk rock something you grow out of?
"Never! You see, punk rock is like the Mafia. Once you're made, you're made. Punk rock is not the clothes or the music. Punk rock is an attitude, the 'don't-give-me-any-bullshit-'cause-I-can-s