Chapter 6.10


6.10.010    Definitions.

6.10.020    Cats and dogs to be neutered, ear-tipped, and vaccinated – Required when.

6.10.030    Animal population control measures – Participation.

6.10.040    Cat colonies – Requirements.

6.10.050    Cat colony caretakers – Registration – Ownership exemption.

6.10.060    Traps – Humane.

6.10.070    Trapping – Requirements.

6.10.080    Abandonment prohibited.

6.10.090    Trap to euthanize.

6.10.100    Sanctuary.

6.10.110    Violation – Penalty.

6.10.120    Severability.

6.10.010 Definitions.

Within the provisions of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

A. “Abandon” means to drop off or leave an animal on a street, road or highway, or in a public place, or on the private property of another, or fail to provide an animal adequate sustenance for a period of 48 hours.

B. “Cat colony” means a local population of three or more stray, abandoned or feral cats living in a specific location and using a common food source such as food from trash cans or from humans.

C. “Cat colony caretaker” means a person who cares for colony cats on a daily basis at an established feeding and shelter location.

D. “Ear tipping” or “notching” means the surgical removal of the top one-fourth inch of the left ear of a feral or unclaimed free-roaming cat to indicate the animal has been neutered.

E. “Feeder” means any person who provides food and water on a regular basis to cats in a managed colony.

F. “Feral cat” means any cat existing in a wild or untamed state or having returned to an untamed state from domestication. Evidence of a feral cat includes but is not limited to poor socialization preventing the cat to be handled and cats which cannot be placed into a typical pet home.

G. “Neuter” shall mean to medically render an animal incapable of reproduction.

H. “Sanctuary” means a safe place where animals can have a permanent home similar to their usual and accustomed environment, where nutritional and medical needs can be addressed and they are free from disturbance by predators and other animals.

I. “Spay” shall hold the same meaning as “neuter.”

J. “Stray cat” means any cat freely wandering or roaming without a prenumbered identification tag or license issued by this or any other local jurisdiction.

K. “Stray dog” means any dog freely wandering or roaming without a prenumbered identification tag or license issued by this or any other local jurisdiction.

L. “Trap, neuter, and return (TNR)” means a specific program designed to manage feral and unclaimed cat populations through neutering and then returning the animal to the point of capture.

M. “Trap, remove, euthanize (TRE)” means a specific program or act intended to manage feral cats and stray cats and/or dogs through capture and euthanization.

N. “Trap, remove, and relocate (TRR)” means a specific program or act intended to manage feral cats and stray cats and/or dogs through neutering and relocating to a colony, sanctuary, or other suitable environment. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.020 Cats and dogs to be neutered, ear-tipped, and vaccinated – Required when.

Any cat or dog, whose owner is unknown and impounded or surrendered pursuant to this title shall be neutered and vaccinated for rabies prior to adoption. Any feral cat impounded or captured pursuant to this chapter shall be neutered, ear-tipped, and vaccinated for rabies prior to TNR or TRR release. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.030 Animal population control measures – Participation.

The city may, at its option, participate in animal population control measures such as entering into agreements for the creation of or participation with spay/neuter clinics, television and radio advertising and programming, neighborhood canvassing, and other means to protect public health and safety and to reduce the population of unwanted pets and their offspring. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.040 Cat colonies – Requirements.

A. The city finds that the existence of naturally occurring cat colonies in an urban environment is a health hazard, threatens public safety, detracts from the city’s aesthetic and reduces the quality of living. Cat colonies congregate around trash receptacles, create unwanted noise, trespass on private and public lands, are responsible for the deaths of native songbirds and other animals, exist in unsanitary conditions that contribute to the spread of diseases, and increase the production of fleas, lice, ticks and other disease carriers. The city finds that a properly managed cat colony is a humane means to reduce an unwanted and/or unhealthy cat population over a period of time only when management guidelines are set forth and strictly adhered to.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to create or maintain a cat colony in the city unless the following management issues have been addressed to the satisfaction of the animal control officer:

1. A safe environment;

2. Appropriate shelter;

3. Veterinary assistance;

4. Reliable feeders.

C. The animal control officer shall inspect any proposed or actual cat colony location and approve or deny its development or maintenance. The decision of the animal control officer shall be final. Prior to approval of a cat colony location, the caretaker shall agree to:

1. Provide an assessment of the initial situation – number of cats, health of cats, suitability of location, impact on neighbors;

2. Set up regular feeding schedules;

3. Allow no more than the number of cats authorized by the animal control officer to reside in the colony at one time, but in no case shall there be more than 10 cats over the age of 12 weeks;

4. A plan for which cats will remain on site;

5. Arrange for veterinary care;

6. Have a trapping plan approved by the animal control officer;

7. Have a placement plan approved by the animal control officer for kittens and tame resocialized adult cats in appropriate adoption venues (eight to nine weeks for kittens);

8. Have a socialization plan approved by the animal control officer for kittens between the ages of four and 10 weeks that includes:

a. Maintaining the kittens with littermates and the queen if possible;

b. Introducing the kittens and adults to human handlers of all ages;

9. Have a plan approved by the animal control officer for ongoing maintenance of the colony – food, water, shelter, trapping new cats, removal of ill or injured cats. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.050 Cat colony caretakers – Registration – Ownership exemption.

Any person undertaking the duties and responsibilities of a cat colony caretaker shall first be registered with the city at no cost. A registered caretaker shall not be considered an owner as defined in MVMC 6.04.030, or be subject to regulations governing ownership or control of an animal, except as specifically defined in this chapter. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.060 Traps – Humane.

Any trap used to capture stray dogs or cats shall be constructed in a manner that does not harm the animal. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.070 Trapping – Requirements.

It shall be unlawful for any person to use inhumane methods to capture stray dogs or cats. Traps and the trapping of stray dogs or cats shall include the following:

A. Traps shall be covered with breathable material that prevents the trapped animal from viewing its surroundings.

B. Traps shall not be left unattended for more than two hours during periods of weather involving precipitation or abnormal heat, cold, wind, or any other condition that would amount to cruel treatment as defined in MVMC 6.04.060.

C. Traps near streams or ponds shall be secured to prevent movement.

D. Traps unprotected from weather or predators shall not be left set overnight. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.080 Abandonment prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon a cat, dog or other animal covered by this title. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.090 Trap to euthanize.

The practice of trapping cats and/or dogs for the purpose of euthanizing the animal shall be unlawful except in cases of disease or injury, or where attempts to place the healthy animal(s) in a home, colony or sanctuary have been unsuccessful or such options do not exist locally. Further, it shall be unlawful to employ or to be employed for the express purpose of trapping and killing free-roaming cats and dogs as a means to eliminate a nuisance. This subsection shall not prohibit an animal control officer or police officer from carrying out their lawful duties as otherwise specifically permitted under this title. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.100 Sanctuary.

It shall be unlawful to establish or maintain a sanctuary for feral, stray or abandoned animals within the city limits, except if and where allowed by MVMC Title 17, the Mount Vernon zoning ordinance. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.110 Violation – Penalty.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by the laws of the state and MVMC 1.20.010. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).

6.10.120 Severability.

In the event any term or condition of this chapter or application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other terms, conditions, or applications of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid term, condition, or application. To this end, the terms and conditions of this chapter are declared severable. (Ord. 3301 § 4, 2005).