Stray cats — the non-singing kind — are just that. Someone’s pet that slipped the surly bonds of domestication. Cities have ways of dealing with those, usually involving a shelter or pound and sometimes eventually sending them to the great scratching post in the sky if they aren’t claimed. Feral cats, though, are a whole other kettle of fish, so to speak.
We’re not talking about Aunt Betsy’s tabby that got loose. Feral cats are a different species than domestic kitties. They’re actual wild animals that have and will attack people and domesticated animals. Which is why cities and towns develop strategies to deal with them.
Under a city ordinance, residents could request traps from the police department and then notify the department when the cats had been captured. The officers picked up the traps and cats and, if they’re feral, kill them.
That’s right. Jefferson cops were trained to recognize a stray pet from a wild animal. Whey someone caught a feral feline, they used parabellum power to dispatch the critters. Or they did, until an “animal welfare organization” caught wind of what was going on.
Josh Colvin with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, said shooting the feral cats isn’t necessary.
“There are best practices out there, and this definitely is not,” Colvin told Des Moines station KCCI.
It was that kind of haranguing that caused the city to stop the practice and “review” their animal control polices.
City administrator Mike Palmer said Friday that Mayor Craig Berry told council members Tuesday that he’d discussed the practice in a meeting with officials from the Animal Protection and Education organization and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. The decision to suspend the shooting of feral cats came soon after that.
Even in tiny Jefferson, a town with a little over 4000 people, the gears of government grind slowly.
The city review could take 18 months to complete, Berry said. In the meantime, the city is looking to temporarily house up to 30 cats and raise money for a new animal shelter.
Sounds like that’s going to cost a lot more than a few boxes of Speer Gold Dots, no? Let’s hope feral hogs don’t become a problem in Jefferson any time soon.