Petition to remove ban on Anaheim residents feeding feral cats

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.

Disneyland feral cats
Disneyland feral cat. A lynx point Siamese!
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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.

17 thoughts on “Petition to remove ban on Anaheim residents feeding feral cats”

  1. I am out raged at the thought that innocent animals are being abused with this crazy law. Don’t they realize that it is Starving animals that are the ones who will bring/catch dieases that their law is trying to prevent. I understand population control is in order but fix and release programs have proven much more cost effective. I am so saddened for the caring people that much chose between jail time or feeding their pets.

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  2. Several years ago we started feeding stray cats. We never had any problems with them and they be came friendly enough to pet. After awhile we noticed four that had their ears notched so over a period of time we took them to be checked and adopted them. Our area was incorporated and suddenly it was a problem. We could no longer feed them and local Animal control would trap them also we would have to have our cats given shots and register them. That’s when the real problems started. Animal control never tried to trap them so they started wondering off to fine food which several were killed then we started feeding them. Two cats died from the shots. Currently we were reported but not ticketed, probably because they had not done their job. We were instructed not to feed them and they would trap them but instead of taking them to a no-kill they were going to be destroyed We are sick over this whole thing because we have to go through the shots again as well as how the others are being treated and it seems there is nothing we can do.

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  3. Dee: You raise some very interesting points and concerns.

    It never occurred to me that even if the animal authories in the US institute a TNR programme, that they could easily reverse that decision at any time. It’s a very real concern that they would use details of registered cats to round them up for euthanasia. That alone would make me too suspicious to register any cats I fed and I would have real concerns for their safety outdoors.

    We don’t have Animal Control authorities in the UK, so all TNR programmes are run by animal welfare charities and rescues. Apart from the RPSCA, most shelters operate a no-kill policy and with not enough room to house all the homeles cats, TNR or TNVR is seen as a happy compromise.

    We need more US authorities to wake up to the fact that there is no alternative to TNR which has proven to be as effective and humane.

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