Wednesday 18 August 2021

The difficulties of creating bylaws which ban feeding feral cats and keeping certain animals

Raleigh in the USA, an expanding city, is facing the difficulties of creating local ordinances which control the keeping of certain animals and also bans the feeding of feral cats. These sorts of attempts to create local ordinances occur all over the USA. Councillors are often in discussion with how to manage the relationship between people and animals. Expanding towns and cities encroach on the habitats of wild animals bringing humans and animals into conflict.

Montage of Raleigh
Montage of Raleigh, the capital of N. Carolina. Image: Wikipedia.

In this instance the councillors decided to ban the keeping of certain animals and also ban the feeding of feral cats unless it is carried out under unauthorised TNR program. The full list of the banned animals can be seen in the screenshot below. They are described as wild and dangerous animals. The fine for a violation of the proposed law would be $100.

The incumbent mayor of Raleigh, Mary-Ann Baldwin said that if the law was in place at the moment, she would be in violation of it because she feeds a feral cat. She loves this cat and she makes it clear that she would continue to feed him and pay the fine on a regular basis. She regards her feral cat as one of the family and she would adopt him if she could but he is insistent that he wants to remain feral and won't come into her home.


Baldwin believes that the current proposals have gone too far and it is like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer. She says it's wrong to stop people keeping ducks in their back yard for example. And there lies the problem really; there will always be a decent person who cannot walk by when a stray cat needs help.

An ordinance which stops the feeding of stray and feral cats looks like good sense because it stops (the people believe) the spread of disease and nuisance animals but you can't expect people to ignore animals in need. Some can but a lot of people can't and to get an ordinance through a city administration and have compliance you need the consent of the people.

Associated page: Order banning 74-year-old woman from feeding feral cats was rescinded.

This sort of ordinance must be humane for it to work. By the look of it, it isn't at the moment. The whole problem was kicked off by an escaped pet snake which was captured two days later. One council member, David Knight, spotted the venomous zebra cobra and decided to introduce some sort of laws which curtail the keeping of such an animal.

The feeding of feral cats under TNR programs authorised by city administrators works very well. The volunteers don't seek payment and they spend a lot of their money willingly to help the cats. When they feed the cats for a limited time it helps prevent nuisance animals. It is a nice balance between humans behaving humanely while not spoiling the amenities of the community.

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