Update Oct. 1: After first threatening to jailÂ at least one feral cat caregiver for feeding cats, the City of Bevery Hills has now adopted TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) as a way to control feral cat populations and reduce citizen complaints about the cats.
Under the new law feral cat caregivers must obtain a free permit to care for and conduct trap neuter release in Beverly Hills. The permit must be kept current. Caregivers or TNR partners must have liability insurance and agree to indemnify the city for any liability. Caregivers must agree to follow regulations and guidelines issued for the TNR program.
The new ordinance bans anyone from feeding and trapping feral cats in "alleys or public property" unless it is done under a TNR permit. Â Permission must be obtained from private property owners, in writing, before TNR can take place on their property.
But permitted caregivers are required to provide regular and sufficient food and water for cats in the approved colony. Approved feeding devices must be used when feeding on public property. A 6′ barrier must surround feeding stations on private property or the caregiver must use a device that prevents other animals from accessing the food. All feeding stations must be identified with an approved sticker. Cats can only be fed Â between 06:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or sunset, and before 8:00 p.m. or sunset the food must be removed.
Traps must be placed at the location identified in the permit and identified with an approved sticker. Traps must also be placed only at certain times, between sunset and 2:30 a.m. and must be removed by then as well because traps cannot be left unattended.
Areas used for trapping and feeding should be kept clean and sanitary. Â
The cats must be treated humanely. Caregivers must make efforts to trap every cat in the colony and have them sterilized and also when they require vaccinations or appear ill or injured. Kittens are to be placed for adoption. The cats’ health must be evaluated by a veterinarian and give a rabies and FVRCP vaccines and any other recommended by the vet. Cats who appear to have FIV or FeLV must be tested and if positive cannot be returned to the colony. Â
Records including veterinary records must be kept for each cat. Records concerning the colony must include number of cats, number successfully sterilized, defleaed and ear-tipped, and adopted. The colony and records must be available for inspection.
Caregivers are required to address complaints about cats and work with the city as requested on feral cat "issues".
Original report: The City of Beverly Hills has cited Katherine Varjian twice in the past year for feeding feral cats.Â
The city believes feeding feral cats violates the municipal law and should subject Varjian to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine or both.
The problem is that there is no longer an ordinance in effect in Beverly Hills against feeding feral cats on public property. The prohibition was omitted when the city adopted the City of Los Angeles’ animal control ordinances, a move required when Beverly Hills retained certain services of the City of Los Angeles’ Animal Services Dept.
So, Varjian’s attorney and daughter, Tina Varjian, wants to know why her client has been charged with violating a non-existent law. Â Â
Varjian has been feeding and caring for feral cats for 12 years in Beverly Hills. She takes the adult cats to be spayed/neutered and works to find homes for the kittens.
Some of her neighbors don’t like it, however, and are trying to stop her.
The Beverly Hills city council has considered the issue of the missing ordinance and has also decided to form a committee to address the issue of feral cats. The committee is working on a proposal for trap neuter return.Â The matter will be taken up again at an August 4 meeting.
Varjian’s next court date is August 7 at 1:30 p.m. Feral cat caregivers in Beverly Hills can continue to feed and care for the cats.