Activists want Salisbury’s stray cat laws changed
SALISBURY, Md. – Activists are working to reduce the stray cat population in the Salisbury area. Officials say right now resources between the humane society, non-profits and the city overlap which is essentially making everyone’s jobs harder.
“In the past those cats would have automatically been euthanized,” says Kim Nock, the Executive Director for the Wicomico County Humane Society.
Animal activists are speaking out expressing concern about Salisbury’s laws when it comes to stray cats.
“Their law is they must bring it here because they have a contract with the city. They have to take everything stray dogs or cats. This humane society has to take in so we are overlapping and we are wasting resources,” says Susan Coleman, the director for Community Cats Coalition.
There are a few non-profits, like the Community Cats Coalition, that help control the feral cat population here on the Shore. “We do trap neuter return. That’s coming out to your property. We trap all the cats. We transport them to the clinic get them fixed and bring them back. They are ear tipped so they we can identify that these cats are already fixed,” says Coleman.
These organizations work closely with the Wicomico Humane Society so that the shelter isn’t overwhelmed . “We are going to try and find homes for them through these different rescue groups as opposed to euthanizing them,” says Nock.
Activists say if stray cats that are already fixed and vaccinated were left alone, resources wouldn’t have to overlap as much as they currently do. “I think they need to make a decision whether a community cat has to be left alone. That’s where it’s unclear. It only documents what a community cat is but it doesn’t say what you do with a community cat,” says Nock.
City officials say changes to the law are unlikely because the way the code is set up, all animals in the city need an owner who is responsible for it. So nonprofits are working to spread awareness about how if feral cats are fixed the cycle of strays will eventually stop. “The population will die. The statistics prove trap neuter return is the only humane solution to getting these cats fixed and returned and let them live out their lives,” says Coleman.
If the law can’t be easily changed, organizations want to spread awareness about how to care for stray cats. The first thing to check for is to see if the cat has tipped ears, meaning their ears were clipped and an organization has already fixed and vaccinated the cat. That tipped ear also means a cat is not a threat to the community and there’s no need to call animal control.
Local animal organizations say the best thing to do about a feral cat population is to call a group like the Community Cats Coalition at 443-909-8047. Volunteers will help you address stray cats either for free or a very low cost. This way, shelters never even get into contact with these cats that often can’t be adopted to families anyway.