As of January 1st 2015, the City of Anaheim (California) created new laws which makes it illegal to feed feral cats. This has upset the animal advocacy community, who are now doing their best to have the new code overturned.
The code is known as Anaheim City Code: COD2015-01329. 1301 states
“It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally provide food, water, or other forms of sustenance to a feral cat or feral cat colony within the boundaries of the City. It is not a violation of this section for any person to feed or shelter feral cats while working with an animal control agency under contract with the City of Anaheim.”
The City of Anaheim’s own official Animal Shelter, OC Animal Care, runs their own feral cat spay/neuter program and supports responsible care and feeding of feral colonies. Disneyland has also been involved in a TNR program for the past seven years. PoC posted an article of the Disneyland cats, where Gina Mayaberry, manager of Disneyland’s Circle D ranch stated the cats there were welcome, as they kept down the rodent population.
According to the change.org petition, the new code will make the feeding of ferals at Disneyland illegal. These cats are much loved, and even have their own Facebook page dedicated to them. Can you imagine Disneyland overtaken by rodents? And I don’t mean Mickey Mouse! Disneyland admits the cats keep the rodent population under control, and that the cats are thought of as family. Five feeding stations are set up throughout the park for their convenience.
The OC Animal Care division in the city of Anaheim have their own TNR program, where feral colonies are properly managed. The new code also says it won’t be illegal to work with an animal control agency under contract with the City of Anaheim. It’s the “backyard feeders” who will suffer the most, as well as the cats they care for.
Can you imagine what it will be like for kind-hearted residents who have been feeding the feral cat population, sometimes for years, to have to withhold food and water and watch their beloved cats die of starvation and dehydration? Under this code, city residents won’t even be allowed to feed feral cats on their own private property without risking a fine.
And what about animal cruelty? Wouldn’t it be considered animal neglect to not feed the cats, yet not trap them either, leaving them to die a slow and painful death. One person I know commented that the city couldn’t tell her not to feed feral cats if they come inside her home. But how many feral cats are brave enough to enter a residence to feed? Perhaps once they’re left to starve, they may enter, but it’s doubtful.
It’s doubtful the feral colony feeders will stop feeding the Anaheim city cats. My best guess is they’ll continue to care for the feral cats, and face whatever punishment the city decides to dish out.
One thing the city needs to remember is that feral cats keep down on the rodent population without being a danger to the community. Feral cats do not present a health threat to humans or other pets; and no cases of humans contracting rabies from any cat has been reported in the United States in more than 40 years. It’s doing a disservice to the caregivers, the cats and the community (who will be at risk due to the increasing rat population) to allow this code to remain on the books.
How do the readers feel about this new code? I especially don’t like the idea that I could be fined for feeding feral cats on property I own. People own property in part for the right to do with it as they please, as long as they’re not harming others. To ban cat feeding shows pathetic politics. Your comments are welcome. And be sure to sign the petition.