Friday, July 2, 2021

Plattsburgh man commits a crime for looking after feral cats

COMMENT: I think that the Plattsburgh city council have got this entirely wrong. Plattsburgh is in New York state as I recall. They have a local ordinance which states that if you feed cats on your property you are deemed to own those cats. But that seems irrelevant in this instance! That's because the guy was feeding feral cats under a TNR program on, I guess, public property. I'm also told that the city code states that feeding feral cats is a violation level offence whatever that means. Perhaps he was feeding them on his property but we are not told that.

Plattsburgh man commits a crime for looking after feral cats
 Plattsburgh man commits a crime for looking after feral cats. Pic in public domain. Sorry for the poor image quality.

The upshot is that this guy, Mike Clowney, has been told to appear before the local court because he's been feeding feral cats as part of a TNR program. He's been doing it for more than a decade. He attends the cats twice a day every day. He is a dedicated volunteer providing a good service to the community I would argue.

He said that they would have to put him in prison if they want to stop him helping the feral cats within his community.

As reported on Yahoo News the picture is highly unclear. The reporting is bad in my opinion because I just don't know what law is applicable in this instance. Under what law is this man being charged with a crime? I would doubt that there is any law applicable in Plattsburgh which gives the city the authority to punish this man for helping out in a TNR program. I would expect the case to be dropped for that reason. This appears to be a mistake by the authorities.

He wasn't arrested but has been asked to attend court as mentioned. Apparently, his violation of the local ordinance comes under the Pigeons and Other Wild Animals section of the City Code. Other volunteers engaged in TNR programs are worried that the language of the ordinance is going to affect them. They think that it may deem them to be owners of the feral cats that they look after.

The law was not intended to impinge upon the activities of TNR programs. It's a ridiculous mistake and I'm sure adjustments will be made. Mike Clowney said that TNR programs really work and that this local law might slow TNR work. He said that it will discourage people from helping. He is not discouraged however. But other people will be. He spent years finding new homes for feral kittens. He's doing council work! He's contributing to the amenity of the community in which he lives. To punish him for that is mindless.

No comments:

Search This Blog