5 years ago Radnor Township, PA tried to pass an ordinance that would require cat licensing and severely discourage the feeding of feral and free-roaming cats. Thanks to the intervention of Best Friends Animal Society, local lawyers and citizens, and other organizations, the ban has not been passed, and the Radnor feral cats kept receiving the care they needs to survive. Local residents have created a great working TNR system and the colonies are well managed, without the help of the Township.
Now, the Radnor Township is once again trying to impose unduly restrictive laws that would make the occasional caretaker a legal guardian of the feral cat responsible for its medical needs. That includes yearly vaccines, deworming and other.While many citizens are willing to pay the initial costs of spay/neuter and vaccines, they are often unable to carry out the costs that would be imposed by the town. What is more, the feral cat population is just that – feral and as such it is impossible to ensure that the cats receive yearly check and vaccines. The unnecessary stress of re-trapping can also cause their immune system to suppress, and expose them to higher risks of catching upper respiratory infections, which if not treated can be deadly.
Although upon first glance, the changes the township proposes may seem a feasible solution in resolving community cat population concerns, these proposed regulations are not novel and have repeatedly failed to provide anticipated results, and in some cases, even exacerbated the problems in other communities.Well-managed trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs are increasingly being embraced by towns and municipalities nationwide to address concerns surrounding burgeoning free-roaming cat populations and disease threats. It is that disease threat that the Radnor Township is using as an excuses to make the life of the feral cats and their caretakers harder. Violation of the proposed ordinance would carry a $300-$1000 fine.
TNR not only significantly reduces shelter admissions and operating costs, but also serves to promote public health by drastically reducing the number of unvaccinated cats. This component is critical for those areas on the east coast that combat the threat of rabies and in fact, the recent reduction in rabies-positive cases in these areas underscores the significant role of TNR in rabies prevention. Equally important, sterilizing community cats curtails population growth while alleviating nuisance propensities and consequently, citizen complaints to the Commissioners are also greatly reduced.
The proposed ordinance does not take into account that feral cats now shy away from people and do not seek contact. They are fed in safe, secure locations with minimal human interactions. If the law passes, many caretakers, in order to avoid additional medical costs (or even fines for not re-trapping and re-vaccinating) will stop caring for the animals. The cats used to being fed will be forced more actively seek human contact and could create the health hazards that the Radnor Township is seeking to avoid.
The township is supposed to meet on August 12th, 2013 to vote on this proposed ordinance. We are hoping to create a show or support for these already disadvantaged cats. Please help spread this petition, which will be printed out and delivered to the Township. Also, if you live nearby and could come to the meetings please do. The Radnor Township building is at 301 Iven Avenue, Radnor, 19087 PA.