Miamisburg restricts animal feeding to combat stray cats

New rules go into effect in November.

Feeding animals outside at night in Miamisburg will be prohibited starting next month.

The restriction is among the main changes in the city's animal control guidelines as officials seek to crack down on stray animals, mainly cats.

New guidelines also allow the "humane" trapping of animals and clarify the definition of owners. But city officials said restricting the feeding of stray or wild animals is key because they are attracted to areas with food.

“You can’t just remove the cats from the environment,” Miamisburg City Manager Keith Johnson said. “Because if the food supply is there, more cats will come in behind them.”

The changes, which start in early November, make it illegal to “knowingly or recklessly leave food or any other type of feed outdoors unattended so as to attract animals running at large, wild or feral animals,” according to the legislation unanimously approved by the Miamisburg City Council Tuesday night.

“The feeding of one’s own animals outdoors shall take place during daylight hours only,” it states.

A resident of North Tenth Street said the change cannot come soon enough.

“I definitely think something needs to be done to control the animals, especially cats,” said Charles Toadvine.

He said a nearby property has “an enormous number” of cats and a neighbor sets “a big bowl of cat food” out nightly, leading cats to relieve themselves on his property.

“I’ve just had messes,” Toadvine said. “I’ve stepped in stuff, my wife’s stepped in stuff. It’s just been a total mess. And I don’t own a cat.

“I’m not a cat hater or anything like that,” he added. “But something needs to be done to have some kind of control over these animals.”

The amendments also allow “humane” trapping of animals for catch and release purposes and the program will involve either the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center or the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, Miamisburg Planner Ryan Homsi said.

First-time violators of the new laws face minor misdemeanors, and additional offenses will be fourth-degree misdemeanors, Homsi said.

Going forward, a key part of the program’s success will be providing trapping training and attracting enough volunteers to work with the city, he said.

The city sought the changes because “the public nuisance standards regarding animals must be better clarified,” according to the legislation.

A sizable part of the problem in the past has been Dumpsters in the downtown area that were not secured, allowing animals easier access to trash and discarded food, Homsi said.

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