Albany veterinarian: Government needed for stray cat problem

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Everybody agrees it's a big problem, but the city of Albany isn't doing anything to control the stray cat population.

At the city's request, a citizen's committee came up with a plan more than a year.

So why didn't the city adopt it?

With an estimated 20,000 feral cats in Dougherty County, this Albany veterinarian says something needs to be done.

"We have individuals who have personally out of their own pockets have done 10, 20, 30 40 spay/neuters just on cats that they are trying to control on their own property," said Fred Freeland.

Just last week, we told you about one south Albany neighborhood being overrun by stray cats.

"It's just ridiculous now.  I can literally sit on my back porch now and count in the range of 20 to 40 cats, actually.  Straying," said Rushiel Jenkins.

Dr. Freeland served on a Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by the city commission to draft a feral cat ordinance.  They spent nine months working on the issue.

City commissioners tabled the proposed ordinance more than a year ago and never brought it back up for a vote.  They say the pilot spay/neuter program would be a burden on the city's budget.

"That was just something we weren't able to do. We have to balance whether we're going to pay police officers and firefighters or if we're going to spend a considerable amount of money dealing with feral cats," said City Commissioner Christopher Pike.

"Until government is involved and recognizes that this is a problem that affect our citizens, potentially affects the health of our citizens, it affects the cost of animal control because we're bringing these cats in by the 100s," said Dr. Freeland.

If you let your cat roam outside, Freeland says you can make sure you don't add to the problem.

"I believe spay/neuter is still the only route we have," said Freeland.

He hopes the public heeds his advice so this growing problem may begin to shrink.

City officials have no plans to bring the issue back up for discussion.

They say if feral cats are a problem where you live you can trap them and call animal control to pick up the cats.

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