Committee discusses feral cat problem - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Committee discusses feral cat problem

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Right now, thousands of cats are roaming the city of Albany. City leaders aren't sure what to do about the problem, so they're looking to some volunteer community leaders to come up with a solution.

The city estimates more than 22,000 free-roaming cats live in Albany. Some are pets, but about 18,000 are feral or stray cats.

The Citizen Advisory Committee is a group of men and woman who represent each ward. The commission has asked members to help come up with suggestions on how to handle this issue.

Drive through many Albany neighborhoods, in apartment complexes, or near businesses and neighbors are bound to see a stray cat. 

The Citizen's Advisory Committee will formulate a plan to help deal with the thousands of feral felines roaming the city. Member Mary Ligon will study Albany's updated Animal ordinance after cat advocates expressed concern about it.

"We need to read some material we've been given so we can read it because it's not an issue we're aware of," said Ligon.

Ferals make up 40% of cats animal Control impounded between 2008-2009, which cost the humane society close to $43,000. City Commissioners are looking to the CAC to decide the best solution to the problem.

Some businesses along Dawson road, behind the movie theater, and various neighborhood streets are just a few places that have seen a lot of cats in the past.

Goo-Goo Express Car Wash General Manager Jeffery Mitchell says the problem needs to be addressed.

"We have a big issue with cats," said Mitchell. "When the Kudzu grows back we can drive by and see 15 to 20 cats running across and hiding for cover."

While some say cat colonies create disease and overpopulation issues, advocates argue they're good for rodent control and they're no problem at all.

CAC members discussed requiring owners to put collars on their cats or use microchip I.D.'s. They'll also consider catching strays and spaying or neutering them, but that could mean an expense for the city.

According to the Animal control report, it would actually be cheaper to spay or neuter cats and release them than to capture and impound them.

The Citizens' Advisory Committee will receive input from the city attorney, animal control, the humane society, and veterinarians when they meet again February 23.

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