The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

December 17, 2013

Outdoor cat ordinance on hold

— MAHONING TWP – After much public debate, the township supervisor board has agreed to withhold passing a law that would outlaw the outdoor feeding of cats.

“For right now, it’s a tabled issue with this board,” said Chairperson Christine DeLong. At this time, no further action will be taken by the township, she added.

About 20 people showed up for the board’s 10 a.m. work session on Dec. 16. Discussion on the cats and the ordinance lasted about 45 minutes with just as many people supporting the ordinance as opposing it. The tone was civil throughout, DeLong said.

The fine for feeding cats would have been between $100 and $1,000. It was meant to discourage feral cats from staying in the community, but many residents saw it as needlessly cruel. The ordinance was originally set to be voted on at the board’s Nov. 18 meeting, but was postponed after a nearly two hour meeting that saw numerous township residents in attendance.

Following the Dec. 16 meeting, the supervisors agreed to give several local animal groups a chance to alleviate the township’s feral cat problem. “We listened. We’re waiting to see what they’re going to do,” DeLong said.

“We’ve listened and given our inputs to the supervisors and our more than willing to work with them,” said Jan Hoffman, former manager of the Danville SPCA, who was at the meeting and spoke against the ordinance.

Hoffman and other concerned animal-lovers would like to organize a trap, neuter and release program in the township as a way to reduce the feral cat problem. Groups interested in pursuing this include PA Pets of Bloomsburg, SUN Pets, which provides spay and neuter services in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties, as well as local shelters.

A spay and neuter program in Mahoning Township will not solve the problem on its own, but it will help, Hoffman said. Many individuals in the township are already using their own funds to pay for such operations, she said.


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