By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Ordinance Committee held a hearing on June 17, welcoming public comment on proposed amendments to section 4-4 through section 4-8 of the city Code of Ordinances, pertaining to feral cats.
The proposed amendments will make it a violation of city code for an individual to own, harbor or keep a cat older than six-months that is not spayed or neutered.
The amendments state that any person caring for or feeding a cat will be presumed to be the owner and will be expected to provide sterilization for the cat.
If an individual is found in violation of this code, they will be issued a notice of the violation and be penalized with a $90 fine owed to the Bristol Police Department.
If the animal is not sterilized within 30 days of the notice, an animal control officer will issue a citation and the fine will double.
Councilor Eric Carlson and Councilor Calvin Brown were present at the hearing, to hear concerns from the public.
Only two individuals spoke at the hearing, Greg Hartman and Jeff O’Donnell. Hartman and O’Donnell have both been involved in the capture and sterilization of feral cat communities throughout the city Ð both spoke in favor of the amendments.
In an email from Councilor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu read during the hearing, Zoppo-Sassu expressed her support for the amendments as a “quality of life measure.”
Zoppo-Sassu explained in her email that prior to proposing the amendments, the city researched the issue of feral cats, contacted other communities and consulted local experts who have been working to sterilize and care for the cats.
The amendments will allow code enforcement officials to take action when appropriate and necessary after a complaint is received.
The council moved to approve the introduction of the proposed amendments during the council meeting on June 9.
Hearing no objections from the public, the amendments will be brought before the council for discussion at the next city council meeting on July 14.
By TAYLOR HARTZ