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Pottsville News

Pottsville Bans Feeding Stray Animals

City says the amount of strays has risen “exponentially” since 2020.

Pottsville officials have banned feeding stray animals.

Any Pottsville resident caught feeding stray animals in the city could face up to a $600 fine.

City council members at Monday’s monthly meeting voted unanimously to enact an amended ordinance on animals. Councilmen Mark Atkinson, Bill Messaros, and Andy Wollyung voted to pass the ordinance.

Mayor Dave Clews and Councilwoman Dorothy Botto were absent.

The bill covers all outdoor animals, wildlife, and suspected strays.

The amended ordinance does have some exceptions to the rule.

A person can feed strays if they’re working with a licensed animal rescue, state regulatory commission, or city official, according to the text of the amended ordinance.

Birdhouses are also exempt from the rule.

Atkinson explains that the reason for banning the feeding of strays is because the city has seen a sudden rise in their numbers.

“Since covid, the number of stray animals the city has taken on has gone up exponentially,” he said.

This has put a burden on city officials not normally assigned to animals. And it’s costing Pottsville money.

“We’re looking at building new kennels now because the amount of animals we’re taking on. Not everybody will claim these animals. In order for us to turn them over to shelters, we have to pay for that,” Atkinson says.

He says police officers and Streets Dept. employees have taken it upon themselves to bring food in for stray and unclaimed animals the city has detained.

In addition to feeding strays being banned, it’s also illegal to put out shelters for these animals as people often do for stray cats in the wintertime. The text of the ordinance also states that it’s against the law to interact with these animals.

The updated ordinance dealing with strays reads as follows:

Any persons in the City of Pottsville shall not feed, put out shelter, and/or interact with all outdoor animals, wildlife, suspected strays, etc., unless working with a licensed animal rescue, state regulatory commission, or city official. Exemption for birdhouses in proper repair and using adequate materials for its suspension or foundation.

Ordinance banning the feeding of stray and outdoor animals in Pottsville

Photo: Canva

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  1. Abby

    June 16, 2024 at 8:20 am

    That’s animal cruelty plus what do they think is going to happen with those strays? They’ll find some place else to go. They’re just multiplying the problem. These rescue places won’t help. They’re always full. I know…I’ve been trying to get help for 7 years for the strays. They ignore people asking for help now. I started feeding 1 and asked for help then to no avail so the population expanded to 24, now down to 15 because something is killing them. I bet those rescue places will help anyone if it makes the news. Yes, I’m miffed. They could’ve stopped the multiplying, especially since I’m on SS and can’t afford vet care and/or spaying or neutering. Greed has taken over the veterinary services.

  2. Lori

    June 16, 2024 at 10:52 am

    Another bunch of BS. So now the cats will kill off wildlife to survive. Pottsville has much bigger problems to deal with like drug deals at the gas station at Rt61 and Norwegian Street, blighted Buildings, no tax base, businesses leaving, no infrastructure, etc. Leave the animals alone- isn’t it enough people kill them for the joy of it- hey that’s an idea- punish the people who let their animals go or hurt them.

    • Coalregion12

      June 16, 2024 at 10:01 pm


      Totally agree. Can’t wait for an elderly person to be arrested for feeding a cat!
      The City Council did not have one word to say about the closing of the Soup Kitchen.
      Their priorities are just not the priorities of the people of Pottsville.

  3. Cat Feeder

    June 19, 2024 at 2:57 pm

    If the City of Pottsville can no longer feed wildlife then anyone with a birdfeeder is technically at fault as well….sounds like a bunch of BS to me. Good luck with that Pottsville….since you fail at keeping drugs off of the streets and punishing actual animal abusers I’m sure it will go far….

    • Canary Commenter

      June 19, 2024 at 3:29 pm

      There is language in the ordinance that does permit bird feeders.

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