Despite outcry from residents and advocates statewide and offers of full support from Alley Cat Allies and key animal agencies, the City of DeQuincy in Louisiana voted to pass a dangerous ban on feeding community cats yesterday without listening to stakeholders or involving concerned and experienced residents in the drafting.
This is an ignorant and sorely misguided decision that is out of step with the values and desires of DeQuincy residents, who care about their cats and are eager to embrace humane programs to protect them. The adoption of the ordinance was premature, failing to evaluate stakeholders’ and residents’ input, and refusing to work to implement best practices to benefit the community.
Alley Cat Allies formed the DeQuincy Cat Protection Coalition along with top animal organizations, and together we offered DeQuincy’s Mayor and Council members our combined resources, expertise, and financial support to create an effective, evidence-based program for cats and kittens. This unique and powerful network of local and international organizations’ support was disregarded by the City.
But we are not finished. Just as the cats of DeQuincy will not disappear with a cruel, ineffective feeding ban, the DeQuincy Cat Protection Coalition is not going away either. We will continue pressuring DeQuincy city leaders to reverse course and eliminate this harmful policy. We will also continue to work with DeQuincy residents and advocates to build a strong program of humane education and public health improvement centered on spay and neuter and vaccination, as well as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
Today, January 10, the city council of DeQuincy, Louisiana, is scheduled to meet and vote on a dangerous ordinance in a desperate attempt to “control” community cat caregivers and in false hope that words on paper will make cats disappear. The draft ordinance bans the feeding of “feral animals,” including community cats, on “city owned property” and “within a 100-yard radius of any private residence or public right of way.”
This measure is sorely misguided and all but unenforceable. It would only discourage citizens from caring for cats, including providing critical spay and neuter services that benefit cats and the community. And though the ordinance directly affects people who live in DeQuincy, it was introduced before receiving input from residents, local animal agencies, or other stakeholders.
Alley Cat Allies has written to DeQuincy’s Mayor and City Council, offering our resources, expertise, and potential financial support. At the time of publishing, we have yet to hear a response from either the Mayor or any of the City Council members.
To strengthen our efforts, we have formed the DeQuincy Cat Protection Coalition along with the Humane Society of Louisiana,”¯Big Sky Ranch/Catnip Foundation,”¯LaPaw”¯Animal Rescue, Wildcat”¯SpayNation”¯for Dogs”¯&”¯Cats, and other Louisiana animal agencies. The Coalition’s goal is to persuade the City Council to vote NO on the proposed ordinance and develop an evidence-based strategy to protect cats.
At that point, the Coalition would guide the city through in-depth community engagement to build a strong program of humane education and public health improvement, centered on spay and neuter and vaccination, as well as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
Alley Cat Allies has a long history of working in Louisiana to help local leaders provide outreach and direct care to cats and kittens. Many parishes and cities in the state have implemented and found success with nonlethal, effective programs for cats. DeQuincy need only look to these neighboring communities for the blueprints and to see that its own proposed ordinance is out of step with their lifesaving direction.
We know firsthand that DeQuincy residents care about their city’s community cats. For several years, including after Hurricane Laura in late 2020, we have helped DeQuincy advocates facilitate long-term, lifesaving infrastructure for cats and other animals. At the Becky Robinson Alley Cat Allies Veterinary HospitalTM in”¯St. Tammany Parish, hundreds of DeQuincy’s cats have been treated, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and provided critical surgeries.
It should come as no surprise that citizens are deeply concerned about the proposed ordinance, especially as they are willing to participate in practical, evidence-based, and results-oriented programs on cats’ behalf. Local, highly qualified agencies are also committed to the wellbeing of DeQuincy’s animals and have joined Alley Cat Allies to share their knowledge and resources.
We are asking the Mayor and Council of DeQuincy to meet with us to learn not only what has been done to help cats in the community, but also what policies and best practices have worked in other communities. The key is outreach, mediation, and no-cost, accessible spay and neuter and vaccination for community cats and cats in homes with limited income.
Alley Cat Allies stands ready to provide our 32 years of expertise to protect cats in the City of DeQuincy. We will keep you updated on the proposed ordinance.