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Ada Council seeks to reduce cat nuisances with ordinance

In response to discussions with Ada residents and business owners regarding nuisances created by roaming cats and animals such as racoons, the village council has begun the process of drafting a new village ordinance. At a September 19 Safety Services committee meeting, council president Jeff Oestrich asked the village staff and legal counsel to draft an ordinance that prohibits feeding cats outdoors.

The committee requested that ordinance language be ready to present by the last council meeting in October. There would then be three readings of the ordinance and six weeks to make modifications.

Oestrich began the meeting by saying that he doesn’t recommend an aggressive approach. He shared research on what other municipalities are doing and what seems to work. He noted that trapping is expensive and that feral cats are not adoptable.

Existing village ordinances on Animals and Fowl can be found HERE. Language in the ordinance covers the responsibility of individuals who own or harbor animals, including domestic, farm and wild animals.

Discussion during the committee meeting touched on the difficulty of enforcement. Conflicts regarding cats using neighboring yards as litter boxes are resulting in calls to the police department. There is a village ordinance requiring people to clean up their animal’s excrement, but these rules are hard to enforce.

Members of council agreed that feeding cats outdoors also attracts racoons, which are becoming a more frequent problem in the village.

Legal counsel Jane Napier responded to questions about penalties, saying that minor misdemeanors can be assigned fines up to $100, usually in a tiered system based on the number of offenses.

It was observed that people are known to bring cats and dogs to Ada to abandon them. In the last year, two dogs have been abandoned at the dog park.

Discussion also touched on opportunities to participate in trap, vaccinate and neuter programs. This would involve bringing a mobile unit to Ada and providing a location where the cats could recuperate from anesthesia.

The last time Ada updated this area of village code was in 2017. Dog leash requirements were updated following attacks harming people and other dogs.