The Standard Times ran a piece on the feral cat colony targeted for elimination by the City of San Angelo. One can see the impact trap -spay/neuter - release had at this location. The number of cats decreased from over 200 to 55. Yet, the City targeted a local volunteer working to address the problem, stating she needed to live by city ordinances, which are written for actual pets.
City Animal Control Officers claimed the Mejor Que Nada feral cats are a nuisance. City ordinances have a clear procedure for designating an animal(s) a nuisance. It involves a court with the complainant and pet owner present.
Villarreal said many of Animal Control’s complaints involve outdoor cats.It appears City Animal Officials can pick and choose which ordinances apply and which ones don't.
In this instance, she said, complaints are coming from businesses on Austin Street, Avenue N and Bryant Boulevard. The city has a policy of not disclosing the names of the business or individuals making the complaint to protect their privacy, she said.
Right now, Villarreal said, the city handles complaints about feral cat colonies on a case-by-case basis. She said she has researched how larger cities such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area handle feral cats insofar as complaints and ordinance enforcement.So Animal Shelter leaders and workers implemented a change prior to "figuring out" what to do? There is no record of any changes made by the Animal Services Board or City Council in relation to feral cats.
“At some point, we’ll have to figure out what it is we really want to do, or what the city wants to do,” she said. “We can only bring something in, and it gets voted in or voted out (by the Animal Services Board), and we still have to go through City Council. We have a lot of hoops” to jump through.
The City should produce the names of the complainants and actually collaborate with volunteer citizens and local animal organizations on addressing San Angelo's feral cat problem.
George Randall, who owns Randall Motors on Avenue N and is on Concho Valley PAWS’ board of directors, also expressed concern about moving the cats.City Manager Daniel Valenzuela talks about partnering with the community. Here's his chance to call off his hounds and actually work with people shouldering the load to create sound policies that make room for feral cats. if the city continues on its current heavy-handed course it will have no citizen volunteers and no local animal organizations with which to partner..
"The city’s doing is going to create, in my opinion, more problems than they’re going to solve."
Valenzuela can stop the creation of more problems with one phone call. It's one he should make.