Ordinance addressing feral cats a possibility
After discussing the issue with Draper Animal Control and Draper Police, the city council concluded an ordinance needs to be in place that addresses what to do with feral cats. (Draper City)
The Draper City Council has asked for an ordinance to be drawn up that specifically addresses how feral cats are to be handled within the city limits. The conclusion was reached during the study session on Jan. 17 after a presentation by the Draper Police Department.
The presentation was given by Administrative Sergeant Chad Carpenter, who explained to the city council a feral cat is defined as a cat that is not domesticated.
“First generation of feral cats are stray cats who were domesticated at some point, they got loose. The second generation and so on are feral cats,” Carpenter said. “They are not considered wild because of prior domestication of the species.”
According to Carpenter, the main issue with feral cats is they can spread diseases such as ringworm, parasitic worms, cat scratch fever and toxoplasmosis. In addition, feral cats will still kill small animals even if fed.
Carpenter explained there are two different ways to control the feral cat population. One way is to trap, neuter and return (TNR) the cat back into the community. After the cat is neuter or spayed, one of its ears is clipped to mark it as one that has been neutered. According to Carpenter, the TNR method is supported by the Utah Humane Society and is the standard practice for Salt Lake County.
The other method is to trap and euthanize. Carpenter said this is the most common practice and is supported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“The reason why is because feral cats only have a lifespan of about two years. They can become unhealthy,” Carpenter said. “This is why PETA says to not feed them and then euthanize them.”
The current practices in Draper are to trap feral cats. If the cat does not have a docked ear and is therefore not part of TNR or if the cat is unhealthy, the cat is euthanized.
Between July and December 2016, there were 33 cats released by Draper Animal Control.
“Those were to the humane society and to different entities where they could be adopted out,” Carpenter said. “They weren’t necessarily feral cats. They were strays. We didn’t keep track of what was feral and what was stray.”
Currently, Draper does not have a policy specifically addressing feral cats. It does, however, have a police on stray animals.
“If you catch a wild or stray animal, you only have so many hours to contact Draper Animal Control to come and pick it up,” Carpenter said.
According to Carpenter, Sandy City does have an ordinance that addresses both stray and feral cats.
“The only thing they’ve added is it’s unlawful to leave food for wild animals, including feral cats, unless it’s on their own property or on property where they have been given permission to do so,” Carpenter said.
Members of the Draper City Council agreed some type of ordinance needs to be drawn up. It was not determined when that would be.