Saturday 20 April 2024

Can a resident in Ohio shoot feral cats in their backyard?

A person living in Ohio, USA, asked this question on a legal forum website: Am I able to shoot or kill these feral cats that destroy my garden and poop all over my yard and porch - there are 10?

Can a resident in Ohio shoot feral cats in their backyard?
Man in USA shooting feral cats. Image in the public domain (believed).

The very clear answer is NO. This man cannot shoot feral cats in his backyard. That is the advice of John Ashley Bell, attorney at law in Bexley, Ohio. He is an animal specialist as I understand it. He said the following: 
"YOU MAY NOT SHOOT THESE CATS!!!!!! With all due respect to my colleagues, this would be a criminal act! Under Ohio law, all cats are considered "companion animals," regardless of where they are. It is a CRIME in Ohio to "needlessly kill" any companion animal. See Ohio Revised Code section 959.131(B). Regardless of the concerns you states in your question, killing would be considered "needless" because there are many other possibilities, including the suggestion that you call Capital Area Humane (one of the finest agencies anywhere, by the way). The first cat that you kill can have you charged with a first degree misdemeanor. The next one would be a FELONY. Do not take the law into your own hands. We have plenty of other options."
Another attorney writing on that same forum said the same thing more or less.

The underlying an ever present problem with shooting feral cats in any county, city or state of the USA is that, at a distance, you don't really know if you are shooting a domestic cat or a feral cat. Or a cat in between the two such as a stray cat or a community cat. This means that when shooting a feral cat you could be shooting a domestic cat which would quite positively be a crime anywhere in the USA.

And it would be a crime to should feral cats in most states of the USA because you are committing animal cruelty. If you shoot a domestic cat, you will also be committing criminal damage. There will be a number of possible crimes when killing a domestic cat. 

These factors make it impractical the shoot feral cats and in any case it is highly immoral. It is animal cruelty. Why even ask the question? Lastly, there are many other ways to stop feral cats getting into your backyard. They need to be explored.

RELATED: An article about animal consciousness and sentience: Scientists propose that we should regard animals in general as conscious beings.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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