Complaints Lead To Change With Cats

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Cat haters, nevermind: The tiny town of Randolph has rescinded a $5 bounty on feral feline.

Instead, the southwest Iowa town of 200 people has agreed to work with animal rescue groups on a catch, neuter and release program.

"We've told them to get it lined up to do it," Mayor Vince Trively said Friday.

The City Council approved the bounty after receiving numerous complaints about feral cats. Under the initial policy, which went into effect March 1, stray cats without collars would be taken to a veterinarian, and if they weren't claimed, they'd be euthanized. That caused an uproar among animal lovers.

On Thursday, the city voted to end the bounty and form a task force involving three organizations, Maryland-based Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends Animal Society of Utah and Feline Friendz in Nebraska.

"We're very keenly interested in helping this community. The mayor is reaching out for help," said Barbara Williamson of the Best Friends group.

The task force will meet next week to devise a plan, which the City Council will consider on Thursday, said Elizabeth Parowski, spokeswoman for Alley Cat Allies.

"What will happen is the cats that are truly feral will return to the outdoors and the cats that are strays that are actually socialized will be adopted into homes," Parowski said.

Sherry Haftings of Feline Friendz said she already has several veterinarians lined up to help, but a lot more needs to be done.

"There's going to be shelters that need to be built, cat food that needs to be donated, traps that we need, towels that we need," she said. "There's a lot of who's going to coordinate which end of it."

Trively still wants the cats gone - and said returning them to town is not a solution.

"How would you like it if a dozen cats come around there every morning as you tried to feed pets and they gobble up food and chased your pets away and then left a calling card on your yard or walk to step on?" he asked.

When the bounty was in place, two cats - one of them pregnant - were turned in. The mayor said the first cat was ill and died.

Feline Friends eventually picked up the second cat. Haftings said it was doing fine.

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On the Net:

Best Friends Animal Society: http://www.bestfriends.org

Alley Cat Allies: http://www.alleycat.org

Feline Friendz in Nebraska: http://www.felinefriendz.org

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