feral cat City Council Considering New Feral Cat Policy

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials with the City of Fort Worth say an agreement on a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for feral cats can’t be reached. The program was meant to “stabilize and/or reduce” the existing feral cat population.

City officials had tried to pass an ordinance last summer allowing TNR, but couldn’t because of opposition from animal rights groups and residents worried about potential cat colonies in their neighborhood.

Fort Worth code compliance director Brandon Bennett said the city cannot rely on every resident to do the right thing. “The people that came to the meetings are probably not the people that we’re gonna have a problem with down the road. It’s the people that don’t come to the meetings. It’s the people that have hoarding tendencies. It’s the people that are just throwing food out to the wild cats, but not making any effort to trap, spay, neuter, release.”

A number of organized groups had problems with the ordinance. The non-profit Alley Cat Allies favored a staff-written policy, but wasn’t happy with a plan to require people caring for feral cats to register with the city and the Fort Worth League of Neighborhood Associations didn’t want the names of caretakers kept secret.

The council is being asked to allow the code compliance office write a feral cat policy, similar to the original ordinance proposal. The policy would allow code compliance officers and others to trap the animals, fix and vaccinate them, and then release them back into their habitat.

Each year the city euthanizes some 3,000 feral cats that are trapped and brought into animal control. Because of the animals non-social nature families seldom take them in. “They’re not adoptable because they’re feral, they’re wild, they scratch, they bite,” Bennett said.

If approved the new program would begin early next year and be in full effect by next summer.