City of La Junta VS Feral Cats
Description: Feral Cat Content presented to La Junta City Council by La Junta Resident Pat Hiltz at Tuesday's council meeting. (Press Play to Watch the Video)
City of La Junta VS Feral Cats
After much discussion and audience participation, the La Junta City Council passed an ordinance regarding the feeding of feral cats within city limits on first reading Tuesday night.
The ordinance was initially presented at the June 6th meeting as follows:
"E. An Ordinance Concerning the Limitation of Feeding Feral Cats. (Discussion)"
"City Attorney Malouff explained that it has been brought up that there is a human disease factor that spreads from feral cats. This proposed ordinance is taking a small step forward towards trying to regulate feral cats."
"There's all kinds of things that other municipalites are doing but this one seems to be the least obtrusive for the time being. This ordinance basically says that you cannot feed in non-enclosed environments cats, skunks, ferrets, ground hogs, prairie dogs, etc. and that Code Enforcement or Police Officers can pick up any cat food that has been left."
"There may be other steps or the need to move with something more radical. For now, this is where we'll start. If you have anything to add or suggest, please do so. This item will be on the next agenda for consideration."
On Tuesday, June 21 the council unanimously passed the first reading of the feeding of feral cats ordinance, but there was much discussion from community members including former Mayor Jeffri Pruyn and downtown business owners including Ron Hall from the Railyard and Tom Brann from Norm Murphey Realestate.
Hall said the cats have impacted his customers using his patio area because the cats have damaged the patio furniture.
Brann said, a cat got inside Norm Murphey Realestate and it took about a week to catch it and get it out of the building.
Pryun and resident Pat Hiltz provided information on cat colonies and advocated for trapping, spaying, neutering, then returning them or finding homes for them.
Pruyn said, "Just because they don't live in our homes doesn't make them homeless."
Trapping, spaying, and neutering was also discussed thouroghly. Including comments from resident veterinarian Dr. Taullie with the Arkansas Valley Animal Hospital about the need for consistency.
Local USDA Animal expert Joey Gacnick spoke about the feral cat "hot zone" in downtown La Junta and how the cat food has also attracted possums, which had to be trapped and removed.
Cassandra Thomas, Angela Ayala, and Clara Lee Stafford also spoke about the communities concern for caring for the cats properly.
Hiltz said there were about 30 colonies of feral cats in La Junta.
The ordinance will be under review again and citizens will be able to comment at the next meeting in two weeks, according to Klein.
Watch the complete interview with La Junta City Manager Rick Klein here:
Feral Cat City Council Video + Interview:
Complete Ordinance (First Reading):
ORDINANCE NO. 1638
AN ORDINANCE CONCERNING THE LIMITATION OF FEEDING FERAL CATS
WHEREAS, the City Council of La Junta, Colorado determines that feral cats and skunks are a health hazard to the citizens of La Junta, Colorado; and
WHEREAS, curtailing indiscriminate feeding of feral cats may humanely decrease the feral cat population in La Junta, Colorado.
BE IT THEREFORE ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LA JUNTA, COLORADO THAT;
SECTION 1: Section 8.04.020 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 2: A new Section 8.04.020 is enacted as follows:
8.04.020 - Definitions.
a) Garbage includes all putrescible wastes, except sewage and body wastes, including vegetable wastes, animal offal and carcasses of dead animals and every refuse accumulation of animal, fruit or vegetable matter, liquid or otherwise, that attends the preparation, use, cooking, dealing in or storing of meat, fish, fowl, fruits and vegetables, except coffee grounds, but not including recognized industrial byproducts, and shall include all such substances from all public and private establishments and residences.
b) Garbage also includes any forms of sustenance that are distributed in non-fully enclosed container designed for feeding in public places with the intent to feed stray animals, such as skunks, cats and alike.
SECTION 3: Section 8.04.070 is repealed in its entirety
SECTION 4: A new Section 8.04.070 is enacted as follows:
8.04.070 - Storage restricted.
It is unlawful for any person having garbage (as defined above) or refuse in the City to throw and deposit the same or cause the same to be thrown or deposited upon any street, alley, gutter, park or other public place, or to throw or deposit the same upon any vacant lot or back yard or to store or keep the same otherwise than in cans or receptacles as required by this Chapter; and it is unlawful to have, store, deposit or keep garbage or refuse where rats can have access thereto or feed thereon. Each day's violation of this Section shall be treated and considered and shall be a separate and distinct offense.
SECTION 5: Section 8.04.080 is repealed in its entirety,
SECTION 6: A new Section 8.04.080 is enacted as follows:
8.04.080-Container use required.
It is unlawful to keep, place or deposit garbage (as defined above) on any private grounds or premises whatsoever, except in cans or receptacles required by the terms of this Chapter.
SECTION 7: Section 8.04.081 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 8: A new Section 8.04.081 is enacted as follows:
8.04.081-Removal by City; assessment of costs.
a) The Finance Director shall assess the actual cost of removing the garbage, weeds, brush, rubbish and/or litter pursuant to Section 8.08.050.
Weeds and Rubbish
SECTION 9: Section 8.08.010 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 10: A new Section 8.08.010 is enacted as follows:
a) Garbage is putrescible animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
b) Garbage includes all putrescible wastes, except sewage and body wastes, including vegetable wastes, animal offal and carcasses of dead animals and every refuse accumulation of animal, fruit or vegetable matter, liquid or otherwise, that attends the preparation, use, cooking, dealing in or storing of meat, fish, fowl, fruits and vegetables, except coffee grounds, but not including recognized industrial byproducts, and shall include all such substances from all public and private establishments and residences..
c) Litter is garbage, refuse and rubbish as defined herein and all other waste material which, if thrown or deposited as herein prohibited, tends to create a danger to public health, safety and welfare.
d) Refuse is all putrescible and nonputrescible solid wastes (except body wastes), including garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and parts thereof and solid market and industrial wastes.
e) Rubbish is nonputrescible solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes, such as paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery and similar materials.
SECTION 11: Section 8.08.020 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 12: A new Section 8.08.020 is enacted as follows:
8.08.020-Litter on occupied private property.
No person shall throw or deposit litter or garbage (as defined herein) on any occupied private property within the City, whether owned by such person or not, except that the owner or person in control of private property may maintain authorized private receptacles for collection in such a manner that litter and garbage will be prevented from being carried or deposited by the elements upon any street, sidewalk or other public place or upon any private property.
SECTION 13: Section 8.08.025 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 14: A new Section 8.08.025 is enacted as follows:
8.08.025 Litter or garbage on public property.
a) Upon receiving the schedule of property location and charges from the Finance Department, the City Clerk shall ascertain and provide to the Finance
Department the following information:
(1) The legal description of the lots and tracts of land from which the garbage (as defined herein), weeds, brush, rubbish and/or litter have been removed or caused to be removed; and
(2) The names and mailing addresses of the owners thereon; or
(3) The names and mailing addresses of the persons depositing the garbage (as defined herein) thereon.
b) The Clerk shall notify the owner of said lot or tracts of the amount of the assessment and the amount so assessed shall become a lien in the several amounts assessed against each lot or tract of land until the same is paid. Such assessment shall be due and payable to the Finance Department within ninety (90) days from the time the assessment notice is mailed (by regular mail) to the land owner.
SECTION 15: Section 8.08.040 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 16: A new Section 8.08.040 is enacted as follows:
No person shall throw or deposit litter garbage or refuse on any open or vacant private property within the City, whether owned by such person or not.
SECTION 17: Section 8.08.050 is repealed in its entirety.
SECTION 18: A new Section 8.08.050 is enacted as follows:
8.08.050- Clearing of litter from private property by City.
c) Notice to remove. Upon receipt of a complaint verified by the Director of Public Safety, the City Clerk is hereby authorized and empowered to notify the owner of any private property within the City, or the agent of such owner, to properly dispose of weeds, brush, rubbish and/or litter located on such owner's property. Such notice shall be delivered by certified mail, addressed to said owner at said property owner's last known address as shown on the records of the County Assessor.
8.08.040 Litter on vacant lots.
d) Action upon noncompliance. Upon the failure, neglect or refusal of any owner or agent so notified to properly dispose of said weeds, brush, rubbish and/or litter within seven (7) days after receipt of written notice pursuant to Subsection (c) or within fifteen (15) days after the date of such notice, in the event the same is returned to the City because of its inability to make delivery thereof provided that the same was properly addressed to the last known address of such owner, the City is hereby authorized and empowered to pay an independent third party contractor for the disposing of such weeds, brush, rubbish and/or litter or the City may order its disposal by use of City resources.
SECTION 19: Effective Date: The Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its passage.
Complete Ordinance and Submissions to Council are attached in the image gallery below.