May 12, 2011: Since the Jane Velez Mitchell show aired a segment on HLN cable network about the Monessen cats on May 6, advocates have continued the fight to save the cats.
The next city council meeting is May 18, 2011. Stay tuned for more details.
Follow the fight to save the Monessen cats on Facebook.
For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.
Update April 28, 2011: Several dozen people came to the Pennsylvania mill town of Monessen yesterday to protest a harsh anti-cat ordinance that so far has meant the deaths of nearly 3 dozen cats, simply for being outside.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Let Monessen’s mayor and city officials know that you want humane policies for cats. Follow this effort on Facebook.
Go to council meetings, send letters or call town officials listed below and urge them stop the needless, costly and cruel roundup and killing of cats simply for being outside. Urge them instead to (1) implement a program to have owners tag or micro-chip cats and make sure owners are contacted if a cat gets loose so the animal can be returned, and (2) implement a trap neuter return program and allow homeless cats or feral cats to live in colonies under the care of a caregiver. These steps will go further in reducing feral or stray cat populations than catch and kill. Studies prove this.
Please be polite! You will get further if you are polite and can do damage to your cause if you are rude and angry.
Mark Shire, City Solicitor, Shire Law Firm 724-684-8881;
Mary Jo Smith, Mayor; John Harhai, City Clerk, 724-684-9712
Council Members–(contact thru City Clerk at 724-684-9712 or write:
1 Wendell Ramey Way
Eastgate 8, Suite 400
Monessen, PA 15063
Dr. Martin Dudas
For more information on the ordinance, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.
Original report: The town of Monessen, Pennsylvania passed an ordinance last August, 2010 that declares any cat found running loose outdoors to be a public nuisance. (A copy is attached below for downloading.) Just for being loose outside.
February, 2011 amendments (attached below) to the ordinance command animal control to impound cats running at large; animal control is not required to return the cat to his or her family but may do so if the owner’s identity can be "readily" ascertained. Animal control can decide not to return the cat particularly if the cat or other cats belonging to the owner have run at large previously.
The amendments also state the owner can then claim the cat upon showing proof of ownership and rabies vaccination and payment of a $50 fee. If the cat is not returned to the owner, the cat is to be placed with the "Humane Society" for euthanasia.
It is not clear what is required for proof of ownership. There may also be fines between $75-$300 for violations of the ordinance as it relates to cats and restitution.
Nowhere is there provision for spay/neuter and return of cats for care in a managed colony.
The result of such a harsh ordinance has not been to increase owner responsibility but has instead meant the deaths of dozens of cats – so far.