Wilson County attorney believes being ordered to stop feeding feral cats equates to animal cruelty

A Wilson County, Tennessee attorney has been ordered to stop feeding feral cats and believes the order equates to animal cruelty because the cats have depended on her as their caregiver for food for the past four years.

feral cats eating
feral cats eating (courtesy photo)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Donna Wagner has been feeding the cats within the Stonegate Manufactured Housing Community in Mt. Juliet for almost five years. Although she doesn’t live in the area, she obtained permission to go into the neighborhood by the previous manager.

Not only has Donna fed the cats, she’s also trapped many of the feral cats for trap, neuter, return (TNR). Donna stated in an interview with Tennessean:

“I learned the hard way you can’t save every homeless animal. But deliberate starvation is certainly not the way to go. We have better options to address the problem with feral cats.”

Feral cat gather at Stonegate (courtesy photo)

The issue with the feral colony began when Merry Osorio replaced the compassionate manager last October and told Donna she needed to stop feeding and caring for the cats because there were complaints by some residents about damage to homes as well as an odor.

Since there are residents helping Donna care for the cats, Osorio wants residents to take ownership of the cats. Osorio stated:

“They are feral cats — they aren’t looking for their own food because they are being fed. She’s not a resident here. She needs to do something different.”

Feral cats gather to eat (courtesy photo)

There are two colonies who live within the Stonegate community. Donna is afraid the feral cat population will multiply if she’s no longer allowed to trap the cats. She even has the respect of Mt. Juliet Animal Care & Control, which is a division of the city’s police department. Mt. Juiliet Police Captain Tyler Chandler has met with Donna and are on board with the TNR program. He agrees new management isn’t receptive of the program.

Most of the Stonegate residents live in recreational vehicles or mobile homes they either own or rent. The development has more than 200 residents, Osorio confirmed. Tennessean was unable to reach Stonegate management for more information.

Comment: Hopefully being an attorney will help in this situation. It would be nice if the residents could take the cats inside but if the cats are truly feral that’s not an ideal solution. Plus, any cats who aren’t spayed/neutered because Donna has been banned from feeding and caring for the cats will likely increase the overall population and spread beyond Stonegate property.

Discussion: The ‘vacuum effect’ and new cats replacing a removed colony of ferals

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

1 thought on “Wilson County attorney believes being ordered to stop feeding feral cats equates to animal cruelty”

  1. Thanks for this Elisa. This is a fairly common problem in the USA. It’s the usual battle between people who want to help feral cats and therefore feed them as part of TNR programs and at the opposite end of the spectrum there are those who just dislike feral cats and want to eradicate them. Therefore they are quite happy to demand that people stop feeding them.

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