COPPERAS COVE — The cat fight regarding the feral cat ordinance that fines anyone who cares for the animals may be coming to an end in the opposition’s favor.
The Copperas Cove City Council placed consideration and action on repealing the ordinance on Tuesday night’s meeting agenda. The meeting will be held at city council chambers at 507 South Main St., at 6 pm.
On Nov. 25, residents turned in a petition that well exceeded the required number of signatures requesting council members to consider repealing the ordinance or putting it on the May municipal ballot.
“I didn’t expect the ordinance to come up so quickly on the agenda,” said Patricia Gomez, who headed up the petition drive to get the ordinance repealed. “We are hoping that the council will discuss the issue to see what its options are and will make a decision.”
Gomez said she received no feedback from city officials regarding the validity of the petition signatures. The petition required 486 signatures and 540 signatures were collected. In order for a signature to count, the signor must be a registered voter and resident of Copperas Cove.
City spokesman Kevin Keller said the city has 20 business days, which is Dec. 23, to verify each signature before the issue goes back in front of the council for repeal consideration. In effect, city officials could have waited until after the first of the year to address the issue.
Also in the item listed on Tuesday’s agenda is adding definitions to the ordinance that presently defines feral cats as wild, untamed or unsocialized felines. A domestic cat, according to the city, is defined as one that does not show long-term fear and resistance to contact with humans.
Robyn Bandinel was appointed to serve on the city’s Animal Advisory Control Board two years ago.
“Not all feral cats are hard-core. Many can be touched and picked up,” Bandinel said. “Many feral cats are simply homeless and fending for food. But they are familiar with having a presence of human beings around them.”
Bandinel said the current ordinance has too many loopholes and that the city must find a solution.
“If the cats are friendly, the city is fine with having them. If not, (the city) wants to kill them,” Bandinel said. “If we don’t move forward with a solution, we will be taking five steps back. There’s no reason we cannot meet in the middle.”