TX. Man Fined For Feeding Feral Cats

January 9, 2008 | By Matt Van Hoven | Category: Care & Safety | 558 comments
Tags: feral, feeding, cats, care & safety

TEXAS – Galveston, Tx. bridge worker John Newland, who has been in the news after one of his cats was shot by a local ornithologist, will be fined for feeding a colony of feral felines.

Following the courtroom debacle that resulted in a deadlocked jury after a local ornithologist shot a cat near the bridge, Newland was cited on misdemeanor charges for having too many cats.

He says the cats have been around for years, longer than he's been at the bridge. He's been caring for them for about five years. Newland says no one told him it was illegal to feed a hungry animal.

But the city of Galveston disagrees with that notion. According to a city ordinance, no person may care for more than four cats or dogs. Under that ordinance, feeding the 15 to 20 felines that frequent the underside of the bridge means Newland is responsible for them – and that he's committing a crime.

Galveston Police Lt. Mike Riedel says that even though Newland thinks he's helping the animals, he's really just making things worse. That's because they're not castrated – so their numbers are increasing.

A Trap-Neuter-Return program could easily solve that problem. But instead, Mr. Newland is being fined.

One person expressed contentment over the push to fine Newland – that was the ornithologist's lawyer, Tad Nelson. Nelson said Mr. Newland is naïve to think he's helping the animals – the same sentiment that was expressed by local law enforcement.

Newland faces up to $500 in fines for the misdemeanor.

Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies, the nation's most seasoned feral cat organization, says it is a common misconception to think that people who feed feral cats aren't helping them. And according to a survey recently taken by the group, an overwhelming majority of Americans would opt to leave the animals alone before having them trapped and potentially euthanized.

But perception, it seems, will remain reality - at least in Galveston, Tx.

There's no word on whether any local animal welfare groups will offer to put the colony through a Trap-Neuter-Return program. But for more information, go to alleycat.org/anticruelty/index.html.

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Comments (356)

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3 years ago

i might get fined 200 dollar for a similar problem.I took in a couple stray cats and was going to find them homes.They told me i can't take in stray cats only animal control.Only thing is animal control doesn't do a single thing about the stray cats here or the stray dogs.He just tells everyone here to shot them if they become a problem.

Also,I made the mistake for taking in 7 cats from animal control without a license.(i live in illinois by the way)The animal control officer was made very aware i was license but had no problem with that he just wanted to save him from being put to sleep.He is in the only animal control officer in the state of arkansas.So i'm still probably going to get fined even though i'm not really the one at fault here.My cats were scheduled to get fix but i had to cancel their appointment since i still don't know if i'm going to get fined 200 dollars or not.So it's really the department of agriculture that's hurting the cats not me.

Good Point | Reply ›

Katie M.

Katie M.
6 years ago

That doesn't solve anything.

Good Point | Reply ›

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