At the February 6th Mayor & Council meeting, the governing body formally introduced Ordinance 2397, which is the municipality’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. The ordinance, officially titled “An Ordinance Permitting the Managed Care Of Feral Cats in the Borough of Roselle Park”, was the result of six-month research and work, according to Council-At-Large Carl Hokanson.
The 14 section proposed bill permits feral cat colonies in Roselle Park but allows for Mayor & Council to limit the number of them. The allowance of establishing colonies is also up to the discretion of Mayor & Council.
Some points of the ordinance include that the feeding of the feral cat colonies will only be allowed between the hours of 8 a.m. till 10 a.m. and those who are caregivers of such colonies, as stated in the ordinance, will be required to “conduct a thorough review to determine if the caregiver has the capacity to” ear tip the left ear of a colony cat that has been spayed or neutered. Caregivers will also be responsible to register their colony – limited to ten (10) cats – and submit a “Hold Harmless” agreement, as well as ensure licensing, rabies vaccination, revaccination, and updating the all other health vaccinations of each cat in a colony. Additionally, caregivers must:
- Provide the Mayor and Council with description of each cat in the colony
- Copies of documents evidencing that the cats have been vaccinated and spayed/neutered
- The total number of cats in each colony and gender (if known)
Any kittens which are born to a colony cat are to be removed from the colony after they have been weaned and placed in permanent homes with proof of being spayed/neutered at no expense to the municipality.
Caregivers must also submit a written report to the governing body on the status of the colony, including date, the number, and gender of all cats in the colony, the number of cats that died or otherwise ceased being a part of the colony during the year; the number of kittens born to the colony cats, their disposition and the number of cats placed for adoption or in permanent homes as companion cats along with proof of spay/neuter records.
Caregivers will be required to undergo training in the proper management of a colony as developed by the Animal Control.
Prior to any TNR activities, a caregiver must personally notify all neighbors of affected properties within two (2) square blocks of the proposed location of a colony. That notice must include the address of the proposed colony along with a signed statement that affected neighbors have no objection to the cat colony at the stated address, neighbors name and address and signature. Although no mention was made how many neighbors must approve (unanimously or by a majority), a copy of the notice must be presented to the Mayor and Council for formal approval prior to establishment of a colony.
Each cat in a colony must be registered annually and although no mention is made of payment, according to the Borough Clerk, at this time a payment of $10 must be provided for each cat although Council-At-Large Hokanson stated that perhaps certain factors could be taken into consideration with regard to payment.
The ordinance contains two separate sections dealing with violations and penalties – Section 8 and Section 14. The first section ties violations to current Animal Control Borough Code, Section 8-11.8 (Violation and Penalties, Feeding Prohibited and Animal Nuisances) which mandates a fine not to exceed $100.00 for each day the violation continues. The second section – Section 14 – states that there will be a fine not exceeding $1, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both for each day a violation occurs.
Councilman-At-Large Carl Hokanson admitted that the proposed ordinance is a first step in addressing feral cats in the Borough, stating, “It’s new. We’re probably going to have to do a little tweaking. Do I have all the answers? No, but it’s a step to be humane in the right forward direction. Hopefully, with input and a little tweaking things, will be able to work out.”
The ordinance is scheduled to be voted on and become law at the February 20th Mayor & Council meeting. During the second reading of the ordinance in that meeting, residents and/or any other interested parties will be able to address points of the bill during a public hearing, which has no time limit per person speaking.
A copy of the complete ordinance is available below for viewing/printing/downloading.