City proposes new feral cat ordinance - - Columbia, South Carolina |

City proposes new feral cat ordinance

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An overabundance of cats in several West Columbia neighborhoods has residents annoyed and fed up.

Some say the current ordinance on the books is not humane. So a new city council ordinance is hoping to put a stop to the over population.

Nancy Brazell doesn't hate cats she just hates having to clean up after the feral felines that she says have taken over her neighborhood.

"It's become horrific, horrific," said Brazell. "They're all over the place. They leave their mark, numerous marks all over the carpet, the chair, all over the wall which we have to clean up constantly."

It's been a problem all over the city for years. Residents have to rely on animal control that will trap and often kill the cats if they're feral.

"It's not effective," said Jimmie Ewing, who helped draft the ordinance. "West Columbia has been doing this for years and years and it's still a problem."

So the city has proposed a new ordinance.

Instead of trapping and killing the cats, they would be trapped and taken to PETS Inc., where they'd be spayed and neutered and returned to the neighborhood.

Opponents do not understand how returning the cats will help, but experts say it will reduce the population over time.

"You can't kill your way out of an overpopulation issue," said Jane Bundage, with PETS Inc. "As soon as you catch and kill, another one moves in."

Brazell says spaying and neutering won't solve her problem.

"If they think it makes them domesticated I beg to disagree," said Brazell. "They're still feral cats. They still do the damage that they do. They still are feral, they still have diseases. They still can be aggressive."

"It would receive its vaccinations, it would be ear tipped to show that it has been spayed or neutered," said Ewing.

Ewing says the nuisance neighbors feel will go away over time.

"You won't have a lot of roaming, yowling, fighting, spraying, negative behavior of cats that haven't been spayed or neutered," said Ewing.

There are residents who feed the cats, so Brazell doesn't believe the ordinance will help.

"It's as if the cats have all the rights and we don't have any," Brazell added.

The ordinance proposed this as a pilot program for two years and PETS Inc. has gotten a donation to spay and neuter the cats.

There's a public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.


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