By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily
After citizens' concerns over feral and free-range cats were raised at a Front Royal town council work session in April, Warren County has looked into possible solutions, one being a licensing ordinance.
County Attorney Blair Mitchell said the town could adopt a licensing or leash law, something that would act as "a first step" to combat the problem.
"We don't really have a problem with them in the county," he said. The town could peruse an ordinance, or some kind of 'catch, spay, release' program.
"Some localities have waived associated fees to encourage participation in those programs," Mitchell added.
Town Councilman Shae Parker brought the issue up after he'd "been receiving complaints" from citizens.
"I wanted to open up the discussion," he said. The town is preliminarily not looking for a "leash law," Parker said, but might be open to adopting an ordinance.
"We can adopt something, but would Animal Control, through the Sheriff's office, be willing to enforce that on the town's behalf," he questioned.
A licensing ordinance would make it easier for those citizens negatively affected by feral or free range cats, to track down an owner and have the cat removed.
"Now, unless the cat is injured, animal control can't do anything," Parker said. "I don't want to see us rounding up all the stray cats and euthanizing them. That's not a solution."
Parker also noted that large numbers of cats urinating and defecating around businesses, can easily become a public health issue.
"Right now there is no remedy, nowhere for citizens to go to have a cat removed," he said. "If it were a skunk, rabid raccoon, a coyote, even a dog, there are some remedies. But when it comes to cats, it's a grey area."
The issue will be further discussed between town and county officials at their liaison meeting on May 17. Parker encouraged concerned town residents to alert their representatives through calls or letters if they are experiencing problems due to feral or free-range cats.