COPPERAS COVE — Forty-one pages containing 540 signatures of registered voters in favor of repealing the city’s feral cat ordinance were turned in by petitioners to city officials Monday.
The group’s success will require the City Council to repeal the measure or the item be placed on the May municipal ballot.
The city’s feral cat ordinance fines anyone who cares for the animals, which some groups do as a way to spay and neuter the cats. It 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.
Patricia Gomez, who headed up the petition drive, said getting the signatures was difficult at times, but she is grateful for those willing to show their support in writing.
She said she had people who were more than happy to say they wanted the ordinance repealed but they did not want to get involved in city politics. The group was turned away by some businesses when the group asked to set a table up to collect signatures for the same reason, Gomez said.
“If you see something that you think is wrong, you have to get involved,” Gomez said. “The people who make up the city and the City Council are people, too, just like us and they need to hear our voices and see our actions.”
Gomez said the group could have gotten twice as many signatures if being a registered voter in Coryell County was not a requirement. She said many of the young people who are passionate about the issue are military affiliated and therefore are registered somewhere else and could not sign the petition.
“If you live here and are paying taxes, you are part of this community,” Gomez said.
City spokesman Kevin Keller said the city has 20 business days to verify each signature before the issue goes back in front of the council for repeal consideration.
“A lot of people didn’t know about the ordinance,” petitioner Rose Brimhall said. “If nothing else, this was a real eye-opener to our citizens.”