Alley Cat Allies deeply thanks our supporters who successfully pressured Casper City Council to drop a proposed feeding ban for cats, but also explaining that Council has simply substituted one bad idea with another.
“We thank the many Casper residents and people around the world who spoke out for the cats, which demonstrated overwhelming opposition to the feeding ban,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “However, because of the new restrictions in the ordinance that Council added and then quickly ratified, we have much more work to do.”
Although Council removed a feeding ban for cats from its proposed ordinance, at the last minute it added an amendment that makes caregivers “owners” of community cats, sometimes called feral cats, who are unowned cats and live outdoors.
Furthermore, according to Council’s own deliberations on the amendment, because of the City’s pet ownership limit, this new rule effectively criminalizes individual caregivers from caring for groups of community cats. Additionally, Casper law requires “owners” in Casper to put collars on cats. Collars are not safe or practical for community cats, because as cats grow, the collars could strangle them. Collars can also catch on something and kill or injure the cat.
“It is unacceptable for Casper City Council to pass into law such a major amendment as it did Tuesday without providing an opportunity for public input on the new proposal, which establishes caregivers as owners of community cats,” Robinson said. “Alley Cat Allies has provided to Council model ordinances that have been very successful in other cities, but Council has yet again ignored the expertise that was offered. This failure to conduct due diligence has resulted in a bad law for Casper.”
Robinson went on to explain why community cat caregivers should not be classified as owners of the cats.
“Community cat caregivers neither create nor maintain the outdoor cat population. Thus it is unfair to impose on them fines, fees, and other costs of ownership that the law imposes on owners. Community cat caregivers volunteer their time and money to help cats and curb population growth. In every community, caregivers become part of the solution and participate in humane population management methods including Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR.”
Alley Cat Allies will continue to work with Casper advocates on creating humane policies and programs that have proven to benefit people and cats.