Tinton Falls ordinance would make feeding feral cats illegal

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TINTON FALLS – The Borough Council has established March 19 as the date for a public hearing on an ordinance that will, if adopted, amend the Tinton Falls municipal code to prohibit the feeding of wildife, including feral cats.

During the public hearing, residents may comment on and ask questions about the ordinance. Council members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

Borough Council President Gary Baldwin, Deputy Council President John Manginelli, Councilman Christopher Pak, Councilwoman Nancyanne Fama and Councilman Brock Siebert voted to introduce the ordinance during a meeting on March 5.

The issue of individuals feeding feral cats that live on various properties in the borough has been a topic of discussion during recent meetings. 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.

After hearing from the residents, municipal officials said they would take action. They have proposed an ordinance which states that “the feeding of certain wildlife, including feral cats, within Tinton Falls poses a significant nuisance and health risk to the public.”

The ordinance also states that “the borough desires to ban the feeding of wildlife including feral cats unless done within the confines of an approved Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program managed by the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA) or a similar nonprofit organization.”

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 TNR program established by the 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.

In the event of a violation occurring on private property, a complaint can only be filed by the owner of the property.

In the event of a violation occurring on public property, a complaint may be filed by anyone who witnesses the violation.

All complaints will be handled by and through the MCSPCA, which will establish penalties for violations, according to the ordinance.