CEDARVILLE, Ohio – April 6, 2023 – Alley Cat Allies, the global leader in the protection of cats and kittens, is taking a stand against ridiculous and dangerous proposals by Mayor John Cody Jr. and the Cedarville Village Council that would criminalize acts of compassion toward animals that are common and even praised in the rest of the world. The proposed ordinances, 2023-06, 2023-07 and 2023-08, would outlaw the feeding of community cats as well as barking dogs and even squirrel feeders in the village. The village council is moving toward a vote on the proposals at its next scheduled meeting on Monday, April 10.
“Mayor John Cody Jr. and council members should drop these ill-conceived ordinances and instead turn to a humane and compassionate approach for animals in the village,” said DanaMarie Pannella, attorney, Alley Cat Allies. “Feeding bans are inherently cruel to cats who are accustomed to receiving food, and they have already proven not to work in hundreds of other communities. Cedarville leaders are pursuing an idea that modern society realized to be obsolete decades ago.”
Alley Cat Allies and a broad coalition of local advocates plan to demonstrate against the proposals before the next village council meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, April 10.
The feeding ban is proposed in ordinance, 2023-07, which says in part, “…no person shall feed, water or harbor any stray or feral animal or fowl within the Village.” Feeding community cats, or even using squirrel feeders, would be punishable by a fine of up to $150 per day.
Alley Cat Allies, which works with communities throughout the country, has observed that feeding bans for cats have definitively proven to be ineffective. Besides being cruel and impossible to enforce, prohibiting caregivers from providing food does not make the cats disappear. Instead, it simply encourages cats to roam further to find food. These cats become more visible in the community, which leads to an increase in calls to animal control and the likelihood of cats being taken into shelters and killed. Such unfair laws also punish the good Samaritans who are working to improve conditions for cats and the community.
Ordinance 2023-07 would criminalize animals making noise through a restriction against any “Animal audibly disturbing the peace,” resulting in fines of $150 for a flock of chirping birds attracted to a bird feeder in someone’s yard. A dog who barks even once
would violate two separate ordinances, leading to a double fine of up to $300 per offense. Again, these measures are impossible to enforce, a needless drain on taxpayer dollars and will only destroy Cedarville’s credibility and relationship with community members.
“In moving forward with this ordinance, Mayor Cody and the village council have ignored the will of Cedarville voters and advice from local and national experts on community cats,” Pannella continued. “The mayor and council are disregarding scientifically proven, research-based approaches for cats and other animals. The reasonable path forward for Cedarville is to work with Alley Cat Allies and the local experts who have reached out to council, to design a model law employing nationally recognized best practices.”
Proposed ordinance 2023-08 would institute new regulations and bureaucratic obstacles that would effectively end the practice of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), which is currently being successfully implemented at no cost to the village by local volunteers.
TNR is the mainstream approach toward managing populations of community cats – unowned cats who live outdoors. Cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, eartipped for identification and returned to their outdoor homes. TNR reduces calls to animal control, reduces the intake of cats and the number of cats killed shelters, and therefore saves taxpayer money. TNR is in place in thousands of communities throughout Ohio and the rest of the country. TNR leads to no more kittens, and mating behaviors like spraying, fighting and yowling decrease or disappear entirely.
“By restricting TNR with these ordinances, the village is likely to see an increase in the same animal behaviors it is trying to prevent,” Pannella added. “Cedarville should not be restricting TNR; it should be looking for ways to build upon the success TNR is already having in the village.”
Alley Cat Allies has previously reached out to village leaders and will continue its efforts to help the village government reach its goals in a humane, nonlethal way that benefits the people and the animals who live there.