Wake County Commissioners continued to discuss adding a Trap-Neuter-Return option to the county's animal control ordinance Monday. While commissioners seem to have agreed to include the option, they have not yet finalized the ordinance's wording.
The current policy requires animal control officers who are responding to a feral cat complaint to trap the cat and bring it to the Wake County Animal Shelter. The cat is held there for three days in case officers accidentally trapped a lost pet. After the three-day hold, the cat is put down. Because feral cats are not socialized, they are considered unadoptable.
Adding the TNR program would allow residents to decide if they want animal control to pick up a feral cat or have a nonprofit group trap the cat, spay or neuter it and then return it back to its colony. The program would be a minimal cost to the county because the cat advocate groups would take on the TNR responsibility.
While county officials have been working very closely with those in favor of TNR, there have been some sticking points to the law's wording.
County staff want to include a mandatory registration for the caretakers of feral cat colonies so someone could be notified if there is a problem. Cat advocates argued the requirement should be encouraged, but not mandatory, because it puts an extra burden on caretakers who already feel intimated by animal control.
Commissioners also discussed a requirement that, if called, an animal control officer would take a cat in. Advocates want to give the officer the flexibility to either bring the cat in or call a TNR group, especially if the cat had a clipped ear, which would indicate the animal had been vaccinated and neutered.
Commissioners discussed some compromises, including making registration encouraged, but added that any unregistered colony would be picked up in the case of a problem. Cats with clipped ears will not be picked up by animal control and that the term “feral” will be included in the county's definition of community cat.
Commissioners will vote on a final version of the ordinance at their next meeting June 4.
Panhandling Ordinance Changed
Minor changes are coming to the county's panhandling ordinance following a six-month review of the policy.
The law, which went into effect Dec. 1, requires panhandlers to obtain a permit before soliciting. Panhandlers can only solicit donations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and not within 100 feet from an ATM or bank. They cannot give false information, cannot approach groups of three people or more and cannot ask for donations from drivers.
The seven-day permit will now be extended to six months. Panhandlers will no longer have to show a photo identification or a Social Security card to obtain a permit. But they must still show an acceptable form of identification.