New ordinance will allow cats to live freely throughout Lexingto - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New ordinance will allow cats to live freely throughout Lexington Co.

A feral cat in Lexington County. (Source: WIS) A feral cat in Lexington County. (Source: WIS)
Work to treat cats at Pawmetto Lifeline. (Source: WIS) Work to treat cats at Pawmetto Lifeline. (Source: WIS)
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Lexington County hopes a new ordinance will cut the stray cat population down and slow the euthanasia rate.

The Community Cat Program, which was adopted on June 26, will go in effect on October 1. It will allow cats to freely live throughout the county. Previous laws did not allow for cats to be released back into the wild after receiving care or being spayed or neutered.

Citizens who want to surrender their cats for adoption will now be referred to Pawmetto Lifeline for assistance.  

Citizens who want to trap free-roaming or feral cats near their homes or in their neighborhoods will also be referred to Pawmetto Lifeline to make arrangements for a trap. A cat that is trapped and taken to Pawmetto Lifeline will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped, before being returned to the location from where it was removed.

Pawmetto Lifeline directors said similar law changes in South Carolina have already happened in Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Both counties are now experiencing fewer problems with feral cats.

According to Pawmetto Lifeline CEO Denise Wilkinson, nearly 76 percent of all cats taken to community shelters have to be euthanized.

The County’s Animal Shelter will no longer accept owner-surrendered, trapped or stray cats. Animal Control officers will no longer respond to complaints regarding free-roaming or at-large cats, except for cases involving neglect, abuse, maltreatment or bites.

Cats that are taken into the county’s possession during these cases will still be examined by the county’s staff veterinarian, before they are released back to the owner, placed for adoption, re-homed through rescue organizations or euthanized. The county will continue to help cats that come into its care find new homes and families.

To learn more information about the Community Cat Program, call (803) 465-9176, or email communitycat@pawmettolifeline.org.

The County’s full animal ordinance and agreement with Pawmetto Lifeline can be viewed at http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/departments/DeptAH/Pages/AnimalServices.aspx

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