Mpls City Council approves feral cat ordinance [UPDATE]

Good news for cat lovers looking for a hobby!
Good news for cat lovers looking for a hobby!

:::: UPDATE II :::: Today, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance -- meaning licensed feral colonies are indeed coming to Minneapolis soon.

:::: UPDATE :::: (September 12) The feral cat colony ordinance was unanimously recommended for approval by the public safety committee yesterday, meaning the measure heads to the full City Council for possible final approval next week.

(Original post published September 11) Today, the Minneapolis City Council's public safety committee will consider an ordinance that would allow for the creation of licensed feral cat colonies in the city.

SEE ALSO: Minnesota owl uses talons to carry helpless, possibly doomed cat into the sky [PHOTO]

Currently, about a third of the feral cats corralled by the city's animal control apartment are euthanized. That might sound cruel, but the problem is that cats prey on birds and small mammals. And since the city's current approach isn't reducing the number of strays, some council members think it's time to consider a cheaper and more humane alternative.

Council member Cam Gordon authored the ordinance being considered today by the public safety committee. If it's approved, it'll advance to the full council.

"We've been killing them, but we're not really seeing that it's having much of an impact," Gordon told KSTP.

Gordon's ordinance would allow licensed residents to feed and care for feral cats only if the animals are neutered, vaccinated, and given an identity chip, according to WCCO.  

David Brauer shared this map of where colonies would and wouldn't be allowed in the city:

A Star Tribune report details arguments on both sides of the issue:

Pet protection groups, who would oversee the project, say that it's about time Minneapolis joined ranks with other cities such as St. Paul to become a "no-kill" city, and that such programs are a more humane way of dealing with abandoned and feral cats. Over time, the cat population should decline, they say...

But wildlife conservationists and others say that such "trap, neuter and release" programs only perpetuate the problem of free-roaming cats that are a scourge on wildlife and that there is no evidence they cause their numbers to decline. It's far better, they say, to require owners to keep their cats indoors and discourage their abandonment...

It's not a small problem for the city. Since 2010, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control has killed nearly 2,500 stray and feral cats, a small portion of the hundreds of thousands estimated to be living wild around the Twin Cities.

KSTP reports that sterilizing cats is actually significantly cheaper than putting them down. But Jerry Bahls of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis argues that allowing feral colonies to exist might result in the proliferation of cat-spread diseases.

"We like the idea that something's being done about feral cats, but the problem is I think it's going to be very ineffective," Bahls told KSTP.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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