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How Carmel is looking to control the feral cat population

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) - Increasing numbers of feral cats are becoming a nuisance in Carmel, and now council has introduced a bill aimed at doing more than corralling cats.

The bill's author said these animals are problems for both public and private property. One of those spots is a garage off Carmel Drive.

A number of felines roam the grounds, with water and food bowls lying nearby -- an issue some Carmel neighbors know well.

"They make me angry," Carmel resident Linda Downer said. "I've chased them. I've thrown things at them."

"I think that feral cats are probably nice cats that just need to be helped," Carmel resident Natasha Shallon said.

"I like all the animals, but in our city environment, feral cats are not warranted," Carmel resident Mel Trivedi said. "They are more destructive."

Feral cats can damage property and kill birds, and they usually live in colonies. This is why the council is looking at a new feral cat ordinance, which is being discussed Monday night.

Officers can trap the cats, then bring them to certain agencies, including the Humane Society for Hamilton County. The cats will be sterilized, ears-tipped, or tattooed. Then officers are required to bring cats back to where they find them.

"That is wonderful program," Trivedi said. "Spay or neuter is a very good program for any wild animal that is within city limits, or is in a habitat that is not supposed to be."

"I think that's probably a good idea," Shallon said. "That would probably help if they're spaying and neutering preventing more feral cats from being born."

The bill also targets feral cat caretakers. They must register with police, and cannot have a prior animal cruelty conviction.

A part of the proposal some neighbors say is most important of all to control the population. "I think individually, cat owners need to take control," Downer said.

The ordinance is expected to move into a committee following Monday's meeting. There is a budget for this type of animal control, but this will allow council members to take a closer look at cost.

The county low cost spay and neuter clinic said it costs as little as $30 to sterilize a cat. This past year, the group said it sterilized 3,500 feral cats. To learn more about the agency, click here.

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