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Tinton Falls ordinance makes feeding feral cats illegal

TINTON FALLS – The Borough Council has adopted an ordinance that amends the Tinton Falls municipal code and prohibits the feeding of feral cats.

Borough Council President Gary Baldwin, Deputy Council President John Manginelli, Councilman Christopher Pak, Councilwoman Nancyanne Fama and Councilman Brock Siebert voted to adopt the ordinance during a meeting on March 19.

The issue of individuals feeding feral cats that live on various properties in the borough has been a topic of discussion in recent months. Residents have said the people who feed the feral cats cause the animals to remain at a location, which attracts turkey vultures to a resident’s property and causes problems.

A feral cat is any homeless, wild or untamed cat that is unsocialized to humans and has a temperament of extreme fear of, and resistance to, contact with humans. A stray cat is a lost or abandoned former pet which may be suitable for home environments.

The ordinance states it will be unlawful for anyone other than caregivers approved by and operating under a Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program established by the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA) to feed any feral cats in Tinton Falls, whether on private or public property.

The ordinance applies to the feeding of feral cats individually or in a colony, and also to the feeding of stray cats and community cats. All complaints will be handled by and through the MCSPCA, which will establish penalties for violations, according to the ordinance.

After voting to adopt the ordinance, the council members voted 5-0 to authorize the execution of a memorandum of understanding between the borough and the MCSPCA for a TNR program.

The MCSPCA will implement the TNR program “for the purpose of humanely trapping, neutering, vaccinating and spaying of feral cats.” Borough officials have authorized annual funding in the amount of $3,750 to pay for the program. The funding would cover services for 100 cats per year.

Pak said representatives of the MCSPCA will humanely trap a feral cat and place a chip on the cat as a means of identification. He said some feral cats that are trapped by the organization could be placed up for adoption.

Feral cats that are determined to be sick would be euthanized. Feral cats that are healthy, but not deemed suitable for adoption, would be returned to the colony they live in and fed by caregivers who have been vetted by the MCSPCA, according to Pak.

The goal of a TNR program is to stop feral cats from reproducing and to eventually end a feral cat colony.

Finally, council members appointed Kerry Morgenthaler to represent Tinton Falls on matters related to the TNR program.

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