ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Workers at an Albany business says stray cats are getting out of control around. They say when they asked Albany animal control for help, officers told them there's nothing they can do under the city's animal ordinance.
The business on Ledo Road in Albany has dozens of stray and possibly feral cats roaming behind the building. Occasionally, they get inside their building. When the owners called animal control for help, they were told there is no such thing as a stray cat under Albany law. But we found out that ordinance has been changed.
Donna Bryant says the cats behind two Ledo Road businesses have her concerned. "There is one right there. You can see the little one right there. And there is another one right there, right up underneath there. They hide under here, they go over there. In the shop when they can," Bryant said.
What last month was just a couple has now become dozens of stray or feral cats right where their employees and customers come in and out. "They could have rabies. We have customers that come in and out of here. They could attack somebody. They could spread disease. It's just not a good situation," Bryant said.
But Bryant says the city and Humane Society said they could not help. "They said they don't pick up stray cats anymore, because there is no such thing as a stray cat."
Cats were not included in the old city animal ordinance. That was amended in April, with a moratorium attached. The City Attorney says that moratorium has expired, and stray cats should now be picked up by animal control.
"I think they have plenty of legal authority if they want to. If they want to. What they do on their day to day basis, but I think there is legal authority to do so, yes sir," City Attorney Nathan Davis said.
Besides the health concerns, Bryant, a cat lover, is worried that kittens are having to endure the freezing temperatures at night, and some have been run over in the busy street. So she is hoping that animal control can take care of their growing problem. "Please. I'd like somebody for the city to come here and take care of these animals, and give them to the shelter."
An Albany business that hopes the confusion over this city ordinance is cleared up, and that animal control can humanely take the cats off their business property. The Albany Humane Society said they understand the city's animal control officers do not pick up stray cats.
They suggest that the business trap the cats, and bring them to the Humane Society, and they will take care of them. Bryant says they don't have time for that and hope the city will help.
City code ordinance 10-106 includes cats in the definition of animals to be governed by animal control. The moratorium holding off on enforcement of the new code ended in June.
More details on feral cats--
They are descendants of domesticated cats that returned to the wild.
Stray cats have been lost or abandoned, but feral cats born in the wild.
They generally do not like humans, and they can hurt local environments by preying on local species.
There are an estimated 60 million to 120 million feral cats in America.