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Schuylkill County News

SPCA Critical of Pottsville’s Ban on Feeding Strays

Shelter has gotten numerous calls and emails since Pottsville ordinance was passed this month.

Sherrie Schafer, shelter manager at Hillside SPCA, holds a feral cat trap that could be used as part of a TNR program.

The manager at Hillside SPCA has offered some sharp criticism of Pottsville’s recent decision to ban the feeding of stray animals in the city.

Sherrie Shafer, the manager at Hillside, says the shelter has received numerous calls and emails since City Council passed an ordinance earlier this month that bans the feeding of stray animals.

Verbiage in the ordinance calls for fines of up to $600 if someone is found guilty of violating this new law in Pottsville.

“Punishing well-meaning citizens of the City of Pottsville is not the answer to this problem,” Schafer says in a press release from Hillside.

Instead, Hillside hopes it can work with City officials on a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. Actually, the shelter had hoped Pottsville would have reached out to it sooner, before the ordinance was passed.

TNR works by trapping a feral cat and then taking it to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered and then vaccinated. Once this is done, the cat is released back to its home outdoors.

Schafer says it costs between $40-60 to perform the procedure and there are several organizations that offer this service, including Grays and Strays, No Nonsense Neutering, or at the shelter. Hillside, however, has a bit of a backlog on spays and neuters and is scheduling appointments three months out right now.

“The ordinance does allow for exceptions for individuals working with approved TNR however, more clarification on the process is needed. Hillside SPCA implores City Council to reconsider this ban and seek non-profit partners with whom they may contract and fund a TNR program,” Schafer says in the shelter’s release.

When reached Wednesday, Pottsville Mayor Dave Clews says the city is handling far more animal cases than it has in the past and it’s becoming an issue not only with straining staff but also on finances.

Pottsville says the move is necessary to reduce the number of strays. Plus, it’s more than stray cats that tend to eat the food set out for them.

“We’ve seen a definite rise in our animal control situation,” Mayor Dave Clews says.

He says the old ordinance didn’t go far enough to allow Pottsville officials to mitigate the growing problem. But he also says that you shouldn’t expect to see people getting busted left and right for their decision to feed strays.

Clews says he’d like to work with the SPCA to find a solution. The City funding the program could be an issue, however.

“We’d love to have a working relationship with Hillside,” Clews says. “Between the two of us, we could probably find some benevolent grant money.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Sherrie Schafer, shelter manager at Hillside SPCA, holds a feral cat trap that could be used as part of a TNR program. (Coal Region Canary photo)

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Cumbola Resident

    July 1, 2024 at 12:26 am

    Seriously, I drive thru Pottsville and see about 10 meth heads… Any feeding stray cats is the big problem facing Pottsville??? What a joke…

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