Kingston Lawmaker Calls For Cat Limits
A friend from Ulster County brought this to my attention.... Such a law would be difficult to enforce, and punish the wrong people. Robert Senor and the Common Council need some education on stray/feral cats and a presentation on TNR. Instead of spending money enforcing such a law, they should fund a low cost spay/neuter program. You've been successful educating Hudson lawmakers.... maybe you can assist Ulster rescue groups to do the same?
Kingston lawmaker calls for cat limits Wednesday, May 12, 2010
KINGSTON — A city lawmaker plans to introduce legislation that would limit the number of cats allowed per property in Kingston
Robert Senor said his plan will be discussed at the May 20 meeting of the Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee, which he chairs.
Senor, D-Ward 8, said he is proposing the limit because too many cats are roaming around some city neighborhoods, including his own. The alderman, who lives on Crane Street, said 25 cats are sauntering about in a two-block area.
“They are using flower beds as litter boxes and you can’t even sit on your porch because of the smell,” Senor said.
The alderman envisions a limit of between three and five cats, and his legislation will call for fines to be levied against people who have more than that, though perhaps not right away if other accommodations can be found for the excess cats.
“We have to put teeth in this law, or we are barking up the wrong tree,” Senor said of including fines in the legislation.
The alderman did not say how much he thinks the fines should be, leaving that decision instead to members of his committee.
He said that, perhaps, enforcement of the law could be assigned to the city’s dog warden. He also noted that other municipalities have enacted similar laws.
Senor said an overabundance of cats is not widespread in the city but is a problem in five or six neighborhoods, and the excess cats in those neighborhoods are becoming a nuisance.
Senor, who used to have a calico named Tipsy, said the new law would not be designed “to go after (responsible) cat owners,” but rather those who let strays hang around by feeding them.
“If you can’t pet them, they aren’t pets,” he said.
Initial reaction from other Kingston lawmakers was lukewarm, though Ward 5 Alderwoman Jennifer Fuentes, of the Working Families Party, agreed something needs to be done to control cats.
Still, Fuentes said, “I am not so sure about nailing people with fines because most of the people who feed stray animals — they have a soft spot for them. They have compassion.”
On the other hand, the alderwoman said, stray cats “get into fights with other cats, they are killing birds, and they are spraying people’s property.”
Follow-up - 20 May 2010
Hi Cat Rescuers & Advocates,
What follows is a report on the 5/20/10 Kingston Council Mtg and their Proposed Cat-Limit Law.
I'm sending to those of you who've been following this stray cat issue the last 2 weeks. And copying cat lovers who may have an interest in knowing about such matters. If you wish to be included for further developments (or wish to opt out of the distribution list).... Please notify me.
The meeting went well (from a cat advocate’s point of view). The cat-limit law was shelved, but other viable recommendations are on the table for the council's consideration. Future meeting to follow.
Many people interested in the proposed law attended. Among those: Katrin, Denis, Hillary from Animalkind, Sharen and Jamie, Dianne and myself. Also there were representatives from the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council, the media, and a lone disgruntled stray-hating landowner.
Katrin gave a stellar summary of Animalkind and the effective measures of cat control and assistance they’ve achieved since their founding 10 years ago. (THANK YOU Katrin).
Also, the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) presented recommendations as a result of a study they did. It was excellent. I’ve included it for your information.
We learned that prior to the meeting, the topic of roaming cats had been addressed by the City, Marie Post, and the CAC. We have their handouts from the meeting and can share with interested parties.
Below are the CAC’s final recommendations. You may find the information helpful in assisting your own rescue efforts.
PS: one final comment ..... we in Dutchess County are blessed to have our many fine rescue groups/shelters/individuals. And a special shout-out to our wonderful DCSPCA - especially for their low cost spay/neuter clinic and new Friday clinic open to the public. Feral/stray cats (and those who love them) are finally getting the support and help they so desperately need and deserve.