Centerville does not have an animal control officer and largely depends on volunteers to help control the number of stray cats, officials said.
The change was necessary because “we wanted to make sure that behavior was in line with the rules we have as a city,” said Centerville spokeswoman Kate Bostdorff.
“I know that they have not pursued charges against anyone since we’ve started the TNR program,” she added. “But people are allowed to knowingly feed as long as it’s part of the city sponsored partnership with SICSA.”
The city still bans “recklessly” leaving unattended food outdoors and will allow “controlled feeding that would be about 30 minutes per day,” Bostdorff said.
With unmanaged feeding, “you’re not only going to attract more cats, including cats that haven’t been neutered, but you’re also going to attract other animals — raccoons, foxes, etc., which isn’t something you necessarily want in your suburban communities any more than you have to,” Vondrell said.
Centerville’s TNR program “is a realistic model that other communities can take and use,” Vondrell said.
Since the program started, the city has processed 274 cats and spent about $12,300 for surgeries costing $45 each, Centerville records show.
A majority of the trapping has occurred in large apartment complexes and “we need to open up that conversation with some of” them, said Centerville City Councilman Mark Engert.
The city has talked with some apartment complex officials with varied success, Bostdorff said.
Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton said strays “can be a problem in the community and I think we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had community cat leaders who are willing to step up and move forward on the program…but it’s no time to let up.”