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Associated Press, Published September 11 2013

Minneapolis council to vote on feral cat law

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis City Council members are stepping into the contentious debate over how to deal with free-roaming cats.

Pet protection groups want Minneapolis to become a 'no kill' city, and bird lovers say house cats shouldn't be allowed to roam outdoors and kill small mammals and birds.

The council's public safety committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend a new law that would allow citizens to feed and care for feral cats if the animals are neutered, vaccinated and have an identity chip, the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/18QSwSk ) reported.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance next week.

Minneapolis Animal Care and Control has euthanized nearly 2,500 stray and feral cats since 2010, the newspaper reported. Hundreds of thousands of cats are estimated to be living wild around the Twin Cities.

Wildlife conservationists and others say that "trap, neuter and release" programs only perpetuate the problem of free-roaming cats.

"We don't treat any other pets like this," said Joanna Eckles, of the Minnesota chapter of the National Audubon Society. "We don't spay and neuter boa constrictors. We don't look at cats in a balanced way."

Council member Cam Gordon said he proposed the ordinance in response to those in his ward who love cats and because some residents are already feeding feral cats, which only makes the problem worse. Gordon said wild cats can have up to three litters a year.

"It's a direct response to a cry from individuals and neighbors," he said. "We want to be able to regulate it . and see if they are working well and not force them into feeling like they are criminals."

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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