New Delaware law will give stray and feral cats the same level of protection as domestic cats
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Monday was a big day in the Delaware feral cat caregiver community. On October 1, Delaware Governor John Carney, along with supporters of HOUSE BILL NO. 235, signed into law a bill that gives stray and feral cats the same level of protection as domestic cats. It also elevates the status of, and protects, feral cat caretakers. In general terms it is a law which supports feral cats and their caretakers.

Gov. John Carney signs feral cat protection bill into law

Best Friends Animal Society, Brandywine Valley SPCA, Faithful Friends Animal Society, Delaware Humane Association, Forgotten Cats of Delaware along with the Office of Animal Welfare played a major role in getting this law (which is several years in the making) passed. It’s meant to benefit the veterinary community as well as the general public and the wildlife community.

A key advantage of HB 235 is that it removes the penalties levied against feral colony caregivers. The word “keeper” has been removed from the code and replaced with “free-roaming cat caretaker.” The change clarifies that those who provide food and veterinary care to free-roaming cats aren’t considered the owner.

The words of this law

If you are that way inclined, you can see how HOUSE BILL NO. 235 has changed (amended in parts) the existing law by clicking on the link below:

HB235 (opens a new tab or page)


Forgotten Cats shelter estimated back in 2016 that New Castle County could have as many as 10,000 feral cats roaming the community. It has taken more than four years for State Rep. Michael Mulrooney to get the legislation approved because it was a complicated process. The chart below shows how many cats will never be born theoretically, thanks to sterilization.

HB235 becoming law will allow animal shelters to create and support a sterilization and vaccination program for any cat, regardless of whether the cat is tame or feral. Shelters will be able to house strays for longer than the current period required under Delaware law.

The protection giving feral cats the same rights as family cats means that no longer can cat haters go out and trap/kill ownerless cats and not face consequences for their action. TNR programs where the cats are ear tipped before being released will allow shelters to keep a record of what cats have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

Screenshot and video courtesy WITN22 News.

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New Delaware law will give stray and feral cats the same level of protection as domestic cats — 4 Comments

  1. Makes you feel all warm and cozy and it makes you think you’ve actually accomplished something, doesn’t it.

    All this has managed to do is guarantee that more cats will die by SSS (Shoot, Shovel, Shut-Up), TDSS (Trap, Drown, Shovel, Shut-Up), Acetaminophen, Paracetamol, Lilium & Hemerocallis species of flowers, Super-soaker water-guns loaded with dilute Permethrin insecticide, pans of antifreeze, air-rifles, guns, roadkiill, larger predators … the list goes on and on. All the methods that are listed everywhere that no-kill extremists dump their diseased vermin cats on the rest of civilization.

    All you’ve managed to do is make sure that cats die in much more painful ways than being put to sleep in a vet’s office. That is the ONLY thing that you have managed to accomplish. Your unwanted vermin cats are still going to die, it’s just a matter of how. And it’s not going to be peaceful and pretty like you would like.

    Aren’t you all just so proud of yourselves. Morons, one and all.

    • Hi there Jim or are you one of his acolytes? The law was signed off by the Governor, the top elected official of the state. He represents the people and therefore the people wanted this. That makes you an outsider and a tiny segment of arseholes who prefer to kill cats even if they are pets which is criminal. You’re clearly one of those rednecked twits with an IQ of 10 but highly skilled when it comes to being nasty and criminal. Here’s a phrase for you FOSH – F**k Off and Shut Up.

  2. We need this legislature passed in all 50 US states and all 14 territories. Every country in the world needs street, feral and stray cat protection. 😔💜💜🐾

  3. Thanks for this Elisa. It is great news for all of us who care for the welfare of feral cats. The cats deserve it. It is very enlightened of the governor to do this. I hope Delaware leads the way and other states follow in supporting and protecting feral cats and their caretakers. It is a very humane adjustment to the existing law. It shows that the legislators of Delaware are at the forefront of managing feral cats.

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