City in Iowa considering euthanizing feral cats

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Feral cat. (WHO-HD)

JEFFERSON, Iowa (WHO-TV) – The Jefferson City Council is scheduled to take up discussion of a revised ordinance on feral cats that would again allow for euthanasia of cats caught in traps.

Under the proposed policy, residents who catch a cat in their own trap would be allowed “to do with that cat as they see fit.” This includes killing the cat humanely or taking the cat “out of town”. Residents are encouraged to check trapped cats for microchips, but are not required to.

If a resident catches a cat using a trap supplied by the city, owners are required to check for a microchip. If they can’t find one, they are allowed to kill the cat or remove it from town.

The policy sets a third set of standards for local police. Officers will check traps set on public property twice per day. Cats with a “microchip or ear notch” would be logged by officers. The first time these cats are trapped, officers will work to contact the owners. If the cat is caught a second time, officers are allowed to carry out “humane disposal” of the cat.

Jefferson has a history with feral cat problems. City officials say colonies of cats spread disease and are a danger to the safety of residents. In April 2018, the city agreed to end the practice of officers judging trapped cats adoptability and shooting any they felt wouldn’t find homes through a shelter. The city agreed to a “trap, neuter, release” program at the time with funding and guidance from animal rights groups. The city said at the time it would review the policy after 18 months.

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