- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - La Vista officials have rejected a proposal to allow people to care for feral cats without taking ownership of them.

The La Vista City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to kill the proposed ordinance, which would have established a permit for feral cat colony caretakers and allowed people to participate in a trap, neuter and release program, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1r1XYtD ). Residents aren’t currently allowed to take care of the cats without being considered the owner.

Mayor Doug Kindig told both sides of the dispute that they should try to reach an agreement before the matter is brought before the council again. Some people said the proposal was too restrictive because it prohibited the relocation and feeding of the cats if they become a nuisance, while others said it violated a city law that requires cats to be confined.

Larry Shackman of Feline Friendz, an Omaha-based group that helps feral cats, said the proposal had good intentions until it was “hijacked” by people who don’t know how to handle the issue of feral cats.

Susan Groulx, a La Vista resident and ardent feral cat lover, said the city wouldn’t be responsible for funding the efforts of people like her who are willing to donate their time and money to care for the animals.

“All we ask is you allow us to do so,” she told the council through tears.

La Vista resident Marian Iversen said the animals “do very well for themselves,” but become a problem when people start interfering with their way of natural survival. He said feeding the cats has caused them to “become a subject at city council meetings.”

Local cat advocate Anita Friehe vowed to return to the council with a new ordinance, as well as more support and information about the topic.

___

Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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