Don't feed the cats: Georgia woman facing charges for feeding fe - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Don't feed the cats: Georgia woman facing charges for feeding feral felines

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

A cat fight is brewing in Fort Oglethorpe but it isn't between the animals.

There's a new ordinance in the city making it illegal for people to feed feral felines and as you can imagine, that has some residents upset.
    
Residents say they have been feeding these cats for many years, growing attached to them and many fear the cats will starve if people stop caring for them. City officials say the food attracts racoons and even more cats to the area, they believe the problem is a safety hazard. 

"The most I've seen around at one time is 15," said resident Angie Templeton.

"There's two black and white ones, one of the black ones is smaller and has a little bitty thin tail," said resident Pat Collins. "I guess you have to do what the law says but I don't agree with it, I don't see that it hurts to put them out a little food."

The claws are out in Fort Oglethorpe city park and so are the signs saying, "Feeding animals is now prohibited, violators will be prosecuted."
 
"Do not feed the wild animals , it's real simple," said City Manager Ron Goulart.

Goulart tells Channel 3, people are dropping off stray cats left and right. He says visitors leave out food and make shelters for them.

"I would say there's probably more than a hundred pretty easy, you can't drive around without seeing cats," said Goulart.

Surveillance cameras captured the suspect felines trespassing, officials say their park cameras also helped issue at least two misdemeanor citations.

"I feel like I can't even walk out there without somebody watching me constantly," Pam Shaw

Pam Shaw now faces a misdemeanor charge for feeding the cats, she admits to feeding her feral friends but says she stopped after a stern warning in December, she's due back in court next week for the nuisance charge. 

"I think it's silly, I think there must be more important issues to deal with besides this situation," said Shaw. 

Shaw says she just wants to go on a walk and be left alone.  

 "They took a picture of my car and me, I said what are you doing,' he said, I'm seeing if you put cat food out,'" said Shaw.

"I have nothing against the cats, it's the same as we don't allow people to go to our park and drink beer, or throw wild parties it's just one of the rules," said Goulart. 

Goulart tells Channel 3, Serial offenders could be banned.

"You know I would hate to see the city of Fort Oglethorpe being knows as a city who hates people who take care of animals," Kelly Evans, President of Catoosa Citizens for Animals Care (CCAC).

Kelly Evans says volunteers with CCAC feed them off-property, trap, spay, neuter and release them back into the wild.

The trap-neuter-return program is also known as TNR. 

Volunteers say the cats are sterilized, vaccinated and ear-tipped then returned to their outdoor homes to decrease the colony population. Animal experts say sterilized cats are also less aggressive. Most animal rescue organizations offer a TNR program.

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