Categories: feral cats

Plum Borough wants ordinance to hold feral cat caregivers responsible for cat care and subject to fines

An ordinance concerning the feral cats in Plum Borough, Pennsylvania remains under debate after approximately 30 people came to a November 5 workshop meeting to discuss whether or not people should be allowed to befriend and feed feral cats in the area.

A family of feral cats. The photo is in the public domain

Mayor Harry Schlegal was sent complaints about feral cats in the borough which brought about the ordinance in October which if passed would require feral colony caregivers to be held responsible for the care of the cats and be subject to a fine is anything goes amiss.

The ordinance, prompted by resident complaints to Mayor Harry Schlegel about feral cats in the borough, is still in the draft phase and not expected to be voted on at least through November 2018. Last month, borough officials said it could require people who regularly feed feral cats to become responsible for their care with violators being subject to a fine.

Stephanie Bruninghaus of Squirrel Hill is a volunteer with Pittsburgh’s Humane Animal Rescue. She hopes any ordinance that is passed in the future won’t lead to the cats being trapped and killed, advocating instead for a TNR method of controlling the cats. Trap and kill was never on the table, according to those who attended the meeting.

In an interview with Triblive.com Stephanie stated

“If you have a good ordinance that works, you don’t have to deal with these crazy cat ladies all the time.”

Plum resident Karen Mazak said the ordinance would cause confusion

“If you try to say to someone, ‘I’m going to fine you because you’re feeding a cat,’ well 10 other people on that street might be feeding the same cat. Who are you going to fine?”

Feral cat advocates likely agree with both statements. You haven’t seen crazy cat ladies (or cat gentlemen) until you mention harming a cat and that includes caring for the cat when the cat is sick and feeding and practicing TNR when the cat is healthy. You just don’t cut off food and care without a public outcry from cat advocates.

Mayor Schlegel hopes the ordinance will define cat ownership by a resident as someone who feeds the cat three to five times per week. Not only would the feeder be responsible for the care of the cat but also any damages caused to property by said cat.

Plum Borough manager Michael Thomas explained some of the issues during an October interview with Triblive.com

“They put this food out for these cats and the cats wander and ruin property. It is occurring in multiple locations throughout the borough. It’s a real problem.”

It’s unclear when the ordinance will be passed. Councilman David Odom wants the ordinance to address safety to the community and at the same time address concerns of the Plum Borough residents.

The mayor says he’s open to ideas on how to word a new ordinance. Anyone who would like to speak with or meet with Schlegel is asked to call 412-795-6800 ext. 4101.

Note: Plum Borough covers 29 square miles of land area with a population of 27,126 according to the 2010 Census. Plum Borough was founded as Plum Township in 1788 and was one of Allegheny County’s first seven townships. It was reorganized as a Borough in 1956.

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Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • Please contact the mayor because while this would give caregivers the chance to feed and care for the cats, the option is still there the ordinance could decide to trap and kill instead of passing it.

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