After a lengthy discussion, the Warrensburg City Council passed a Trap, Neuter, Release ordinance Monday night.

The final vote was 3 yes, and one no vote, with Councilman Bob Watts absent from the meeting. Councilmen Casey Lund, Bryan Jacobs, and Mayor Danielle Johnston voted yes, while Councilwoman Robin Allen voted no.

The ordinance allows for a trap, neuter and release program in the City of Warrensburg, but with feeding restrictions.

“No person shall provide food or other forms of sustenance to a community cat colony. All other supervision and care of a colony may only be provided as set forth in this Article. As used in this Article, a “community cat” is a free roaming, feral or non-socialized cat that has no discernible owner or form of owner identification. A 'community cat colony' is a grouping of community cats that congregate, more or less, together as a social unit in the same geographic area,” reads the restriction section.

Furthermore, “any organization or individual over the age of eighteen (18) may provide supervision to a community cat or community cat colony only upon compliance with the following requirements.:

(1) Maintaining a listing of the cats by general description that are a part of the colony and provide access to the list to animal control upon request; (2) Causing all cats in the colony to be ear tipped, neutered or spayed, and vaccinated against rabies; (3) Obtaining the permission from any private property owner to maintain the colony at such address if the caretaker is not the property owner; (4) Providing information to the City regarding the cats in the colony upon request, and permitting inspection on the premises of the care giver for compliance with this ordinance; (5) Trapping all cats over the age of eight weeks that are born into the colony to assure compliance with the requirements of this section; and (6) Obtaining medical care for any cat in the colony that displays obvious signs of trauma or illness," the ordinance read.

Over 40 cities nationwide have adopted TNR over the past 25 years, it was noted. But the effectiveness of the program was questioned by City Manager Harold Stewart. To be effective, between 70 and 90 percent of the feral cat population must be neutered.

Lund emphasized that the City of Warrensburg needs to have an ordinance in place in case a problem arises that requires intervention by city officials.

Only one City Council meeting is scheduled for November. It will take place Monday, Nov. 19.