An ongoing feral cat problem in Sedalia was the subject of a work session held Monday night prior to the regular City Council meeting at the Municipal Building.

Sedalia Animal Shelter Manager Randi Battson gave a presentation to Council members. She spoke in support of a proposed ordinance called Feline Trap-Neuter-Release.

Randy Kirby

“Trap-Neuter-Release is when you trap the community cats, or feral cats in the area, you take them, have them spayed or neutered, give them a rabies vaccine, make sure they're healthy, and then re-release them back into the area in which they came from,” Battson explained.

“The reason this is good, is because cats are territorial. If they leave, then new cats will move in. If I come and take the cats in your neighborhood right now, and you have six cats, that's going to help for a couple weeks, but 60 days from now, you're going to have 12 cats instead of the six,” Battson said. “So this way the same cats are released back into the area, they're not reproducing babies, and they're not fighting, they're not tearing up the trash, they're not wreaking havoc like they have been in the past.”

Those returned to the neighborhoods afterwards will have their left ear “tipped” to indicate to everyone they have been through the neutering process. The tipping process involves removing one-fourth of an inch from the tip of the cat's left ear (while under anesthesia). Cats with such a marking will show that the feline has been vaccinated and sterilized.

In addition to Trap-Neuter-Release, Battson proposed a slight change in the fee schedule, which will increase the adoption rate and lessen the turnover time for the animals in the shelter.

The new fee schedule (if approved by Council on March 12) will be $35 for a cat, $45 for a kitten, $55 to $150 for an adult mixed-breed dog, $85 to $150 for an adult small-breed dog, and $85 to $150 for a puppy.

The ordinance also calls for a $40 “hold provision” for those wanting to adopt, but need more time to think about it. Battson explained that $20 of that would go to the shelter, while the other $20 would count towards the adoption.

Battson provided figures that show the animal shelter took in 737 cats in 2016. A total of 537 of them were euthanized under the old trap-and-euthanize system, which has been used for the past 10 years here.

Under a trap-and-remove policy, used for the past year, the city took in 416 cats, euthanized 52 of then and transferred out 100 cats.

AnimalFair Vice President and Cat Director Melissa Gettis spoke in favor of the new ordinance.

“Of course I'm all for this. Cutting down the population is first and foremost, which helps us out, too. Then when we have cats that their owners surrender, or for medical reasons, we can take in more of those if we have less kittens being born on the street,” Gettis said.

About 40 people attended the work session, which also included a financial update from City Administrator Kelvin Shaw.

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