Update: October 16, 2019:
Unfortunate news: On October 15, the Westwego City Council unanimously passed the ordinance detailed below, which puts pressure on community cat caregivers and burdens their lifesaving work to help cats.
If you took action and spoke out against the ordinance, thank you. Alley Cat Allies is continuing to look into the situation and we will keep you posted.
September 27, 2019:
Alley Cat Allies is rallying supporters in Westwego, Louisiana, to speak out against a proposed ordinance that would hinder the ability of community cat caregivers and advocates to provide cats with the spay and neuter services they need.
The city’s decisionmakers recently scrapped a feeding ban for community cats, for which we are grateful. However, a newly proposed ordinance includes language that would require a burdensome permit in order to carry out Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), the only humane and effective approach to community cats.
The proposed ordinance also treats community cat caregivers like owners, when they are just good Samaritans caring for cats and improving their community with their own time and resources. Community cat caregivers don’t create or maintain the outdoor cat population, so it’s unfair to impose on them the fines, fees, and other costs of ownership.
Westwego Mayor Joe Peoples has already said that he doesn’t want the cats to be killed. So, he need only look to the many cities across the nation that have embraced nonlethal approaches like TNR. TNR ensures community cats are spayed and neutered, ending the breeding cycle and mating behaviors like yowling, spraying, roaming, and fighting.
Community cats are not socialized to people. Bringing them all to an animal shelter to be adopted is not and will never be an option. Nationwide, cats who are brought to shelters will far too often be killed. TNR protects cats by enabling them to remain in the outdoor homes where they thrive.
TNR is the only method that works. Westwego needs to ensure its local laws don’t impede it or put unnecessary pressure on the caregivers.