Salt Lake City and Feral Cats

Salt Lake City recognizes trap neuter return is the most humane and effective way to control feral cat populations.

The City’s Animal Control ordinance does require registration of feral cat colonies but encourages caregivers to use TNR.

A person may register the colony as long as the cats are being trapped for sterilization, vaccination, and ear-tipping. The caregiver must keep a record of each cat and also provide proof of permission to maintain the colony on the property. The ordinance requires caregivers to feed the cats regularly, continue to sterilize, vaccinate, and ear-tip the cats, and keep the site free of odor, waste, debris, insects and rodents.

If in the judgment of an inspecting officer, the unsanitary conditions at the site of a feral cat colony make it a substantial hazard to the animals or health, the license can be immediately suspended and the cats impounded. The officer can also direct corrective action. The fee to operate a feral cat colony is $5.00 per year.

Holly Sizemore, Executive Director of No More Homeless Pets Utah, noted, "The city council …recognize[es] that the old methods of dealing with cats isn’t working and acknowledging the service feral cat caregivers provide to the community."

Sizemore said that a sunset provision in the ordinance may be another reason feral cat caregivers are hesitant to register and reveal the existence of their colonies.

Sizemore added that , "It …take[s] time to build trust between feral cat caregivers and animal services, since historically feral cat caregivers have been cited for their actions and forced to trap the cats for impound and typically euthanasia since ferals are not adoptable."

She reiterated, though, "It …take[s] both agencies working closely together to educate caregivers and complainants; mediate problems; and offer TNR services."

A copy of the ordinance is in Animal Law Coalition’s Laws.