Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare looks into several ordinance changes

Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare looks into several ordinance changes
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare is looking into several changes it hopes will improve the safety of residents and animals.

A change in reclaim fees, a new database and a different approach to the feral cat population are all in the works for Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare.

The department is working to update a city ordinance that would get rid of tiered reclaim fees for pets that show up to the shelter more than once.

Directors are also beginning to create a dangerous dog database, where residents could look online to see if any animals labeled as dangerous live around their area.

And in an attempt to control the city's feral cat population, the department and several subcommittees are proposing a "trap, neuter, release" (TNR) initiative.

Right now, feral cats that are trapped are euthanized, and so many wild cats are brought into the city shelter that officials have to euthanize four times as many cats as they do dogs.

After the cats are put down it doesn't take long before they're naturally replaced by new feral cats.

That's where officials say TNR could make a difference.

"TNR has been proven to work because what you're doing is when you take a cat and trap it in a colony right now and bring it out, you create what they call the vacuum affect," said William Kearns, a member of the Community Cat Committee tasked with looking into TNR. "You trap 10 cats, 10 more cats tend to move in, maybe even more cats tend to move in because you've messed up the actual system of the colony."

Nothing can fully eliminate every feral cat from city limits, and having a few around town is good to control the rodent population.

Animal Management and Welfare hopes trapping, neutering and releasing the cats back into their habitat will halt the colony growth before it gets too big.

"We're a long ways off from TNR and we need to make sure this is the right solution for our community," said Richard Havens, Director of Animal Management and Welfare. "There are a lot of stakeholders that we need to talk to, but once again, we do need to think outside the box because what we're doing right now is just not working. We need to think of alternate ways to help these animals out and help our community out while being fiscally responsible."

This initiative requires no money from the city.

Nonprofit organizations will foot the bill to trap, neuter, microchip and ear tip the cats, and the shelter will not have to spend as much money on euthanizing them.

"We're trying to help with this problem of over population," said Kearns. "Even if you hate cats, you should support TNR because we're not trying to completely replace everything that's going on. We're just trying to provide an alternative and a means to control the population problem that we have in the city."

The TNR proposal will be presented and voted on by the Animal Management and Welfare Control Board next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Community members are welcome to attend.

The board is asking for resident input before any changes are finalized.

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