Sec. 5-15. Private/hobby kennels
(Magnitude 10 Contradiction:Both of the following sections require specific methods for the disposal of fecal matter.The city admits that there are “unsanitary, nauseous, foul, or offensive, or in any way detrimental to public health and/or safety” issues surrounding concentrations of animals, yet the feces, urine, and diseases of cat colonies are ignored or denied. Pat Beigler, Director of Public Works, denied at a city council meeting that there are any health risks associated with feral cats. Furthermore, the Dept. of Public Health representative on the Animal Control Advisory Board, who is the rabies officer for Muscogee County, should know about the heath problems associated with feral cats. See reference library for numerous scientific studies and recent news articles proving there are disease risks, and that people are being bitten by rabid cats.)
(a)Any person who maintains within or adjoining his property a combined total of six or more dogs and/or cats over six months of age as personal or family pets, or for recreational use, or for exhibition, breeding, and where sale of offspring is not the primary function shall be required to have a private/hobby kennel permit (Colony keepers should be required to have a kennel license, but once again not cat colony keepers, only everyone else).
(e)The chief of animal control and enforcement division shall have the authority to revoke private/hobby kennel permits when sanitation standards prescribed by this chapter and other ordinances are not maintained. (Cat colony keepers are exempt because they have been declared non owners, even though they are owners. How will animal control know what the sanitary conditions are in colony areas? Animal Control is not required by the ordinance to oversee the physical locations of the colonies. Administration of the program was given to a fanatical cat group whose agenda is to have cats declared protected wildlife. Even if the group knows about sanitary problems or disease, it has a vested interest in suppressing information that would cast a negative light on TNR. The government has divested itself of all responsibility for negative consequences surrounding the TNR program. It certainly is not acting to fulfill the responsibilities of a government, which is to protect ALL of its citizens, not just a few who share their personal beliefs.)
Sec. 5-16. Commercial kennels
(e) Waste disposal. Fecal matter and urine from animals shall be disposed of into the city sanitary sewerage system and shall not be allowed to drain or leak into the rainwater sewerage system. (Here is another admission by the city that concentrations of animal waste pose a sanitation risk, this time as runoff, although this knowledge is suspended when it comes to the waste and urine produced by 100,000 feral cats in the city. Wonder what the monthly tonage of that is? Some of the runoff from the waste matter in concentrated colonies of cats ends up in the river, and creeks that drain into the rivers. The river overflows the banks quite frequently, washing feces, urine, and disease into the river as it subsides back into the channel. This section, of course, does not apply to cat keepers since they are exempt from laws governing cat ownership. They don't have to clean up anything. Feral cats deposit their packages and let flow their streams wherever they please to do so, whether it is in a sandbox, in a park, or someone's flower bed, garage, or on the seat in a car).
(f) Kennel sanitation. It shall be unlawful to keep or maintain within Columbus, Georgia, any kennel that is unsanitary, nauseous, foul, or offensive, or in any way detrimental to public health and/or safety. (Even though feral cat owners have vast numbers of cats registered to them, the ordinance exempts them from ownership and therefore from being kennel owners, so they are once again not held to the same standards, this time sanitation, that other owners are held to. See Testimony box on the City Narrative page for how the cat colony behind Country's Barbeque on Whittlesley is affecting some Main Street employees in a shop that backs up to Country's.)
(1) Failure to provide adequate shelter from inclement weather, especially for puppies and kittens. (see above for a discussion on feral cat shelters.)
(2) Failure to provide animals food for a period of more than twenty four (24) hours and/or water or care for more than eighteen (18) hours. (No one is checking to see if cat keepers are going to colony sites on a daily basis, or even occasionally. There are no checks and balances in this program. Drale Short at a city council meeting on 11/22/11, while describing the Save a Pet program, said "the cats are usually managed". What happens when they are not?).
Animal Control, through the TNR program, is violating city and state animal codes on nuisance, abandonment, wildlife protection, and responsible pet ownership, and is putting the health of the public at risk.
Click the button above to read official documents from Savannah, Ga. detailing that city's investigation of TNR programs after a proposal was made to implement TNR there. The city appointed an objective committee to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation. The committee rejected TNR based on health and wildlife concerns after exploring the science surrounding TNR vs the claims of its proponents. In Columbus, TNR was not subjected to scrutiny, there was no investigation, no public discussion, no consideration, just blind acceptance and implementation.
published March, 2014 original text and drawings copyright Feb. 2014 TNRFactCheck.org
Employees in Animal Control, Public Works, the Health Dept, city Attorney's office, with Mayor Tomlinson providing the impetus, and with the influence of Paws, a no-kill shelter and official city partner that donated the land Animal Control sits on and holds seats on the Animal Control Advisory Board, developed and implemented a program without regard for the rights of any other citizen or inhabitant, and without public input. Paws, a private, non profit organization that keeps its records secret, even its board members, is setting public policy that affects all citizens. The rights of property owners to the use and pleasure of their property and the lives and well being of birds and wild mammals have been dismissed and discarded in favor of a maintenance program for feral cats and legal sanction for cat feeders. Citizen complaints are 'dealt with' (Pat Biegler). The program is not transparent, as Biegler claims, but in practice is secret, and the behavior secretive toward all but their comrades and supporters, to which I can personally testify.
Ordinance 13-12 protects and promotes the agenda and activities of TNR proponents and no kill advocates who want euthanasia rates reduced to the lowest possible quotient, regardless of the damage done or the cruelty to the animals themselves. The ordinance redefines cat keepers as non owners, and attempts to alter public opinion by changing the language describing feral cats and their keepers. Furthermore, the ordinance gives administration of the program to an animal group that has a vested interest in covering the inadequacies and failures of TNR programs, and to ignore the health risks TNR poses for all. This group arrogantly dismisses the rights and lives of all but feral cats. Becky Carter, the head of the group, said to me that she only cares about cats. That colonies are allowed around restaurants, day care centers, schools, and in public areas such as parks is outrageous. Citizens were denied a voice in their own governance. TNR was a done deal when Tom Bryan, who, along with his wife and the Mayor, have been practicing TNR for many years, introduced Tracy Dean in August of 2008 to the ACC Board as the Humane Society rep who would explain TNR to them. He did not introduce her as presenting TNR for their investigation and consideration. As the Minutes demonstrate, there was no discussion or objection. What she told them was prejudiced and did not disclose the negative consequences of TNR and it's failure to have a significant impact on feral cat populations; but, the objective is not population reduction, it was and is euthanasia reduction. Scientific material refuting the claims of TNR advocates is still being suppressed. Newspaper writers perpetuate the suppression of the real world story of TNR by only writing news articles the city calls in, to which I can once again testify from personal experience. Objective journalism, free speech, and the right to reply by public means in equal measure to the city has been denied. TNR fits the personal preferences of the few, and for its supporters, the end justifies the means.
The important and revealing part of this clip is not what is said, but what is not said. It takes 22 seconds to pass this ordinance. As seen in all of the city council meeting videos, no voice speaks in opposition, no councilor questions. TNR was never presented for public debate and input. The only citizens present at any of the meetings are supporters. City and Paws personnel had no trouble informing them, but made no efforts beyond the minimum required by law to inform any other citizen and give them a voice. To put TNR up for public debate may have changed the outcome.
This ordinance promotes and protects the personal beliefs of special interest groups. The Mayor loves it because it soothes no kill advocates by lowering euthanasia rates, gets her votes, and TNR is a much loved project for her; animal control loves it because it gets the no kill people off their backs and brings in grant money; one can only speculate as to why city councilors approve it, but may include no resistance = no backlash; no kill advocates love it because euthanasia is virtually extinct in Columbus, and Paws loves it because, well, Paws is one of the special interest groups. It is not an ordinance written to protect and promote the health and well being of citizens, which is what legislation in a democracy is supposed to do.
Where in this ordinance and program are satisfaction and protection for people who love birds and other wildlife? For birds and environment? For residential and business property owners? And for people who oppose the cruelty to the cats themselves promoted by TNR? Nowheresville, that's where.
When asked how property owners could protect themselves and their property from the invasion of a 'non-owners' cats, Ms. Short and Becky Carter of Animal SOS, to whom Animal Control gave administration of TNR, gave me the same answer: water jets. Water Jets?That brought my mind to a stunned halt for about 5 seconds while I processed how ridiculous that is. that they could say it with a straight face, and thought that I would accept that sorry response. The city and Animal SOS aren't going to pay the exorbitant water bill created by water jets and property owners would be liable for spraying the yard during periods of water restriction. Sprays of water will not reach all areas of a yard, will prohibit use of the yard by the property owner, will keep away the birds, erode the soil, flood foundations, and rot wood. The point here is there is nothing a property owner can do but trap the cats and take them to animal control, at which time the cats will be promptly re-released.
In late November, 2013, soon after I learned about the TNR program, I called Becky Carter, head of Animal SOS, the group appointed by Animal Control to run the program. I wanted to ask some questions. One of those questions related to wildlife. I asked her, "What do you think about the 1.7 to 3.8 BILLION birds cats destroy each year?" Her reply is burned into my brain: "I care about the cats. Birds kill cats." This is the attitude of the group Animal Control appointed to operate the TNR program. No objectivity, totally invested in the cats. No consideration for anyone else. Any records she does keep are suspect because she has a vested interest in portraying TNR as successful. Even with the goal of reducing euthanasia rates, Animal Control could have appointed a group that would administer the program fairly, be transparent because there was nothing to hide, and help implement a program that did have some emphasis on population reduction. Non-profit means their records are not subject to public scrutiny. The only records the ordinance requires it to keep are vaccinations, sterilization, and animal identification (not defined if different from ear clipping). What is wrong with that picture? Furthermore, what city government does not keep extensive records about the administration and financing of its programs? How can a city agency keep track of a program it sanctions and directs if it doesn't keep records? How can a city agency know how effective or ineffective a program is if it doesn't keep or require long term records for review? How can citizens trust an agency that keeps any records it has secret? In our meeting Dec 10, 2013, Ms. Short told me the only records Animal Control keeps on the program is the number of vouchers veterinarians submit for payment for sterilization. Ms Biegler, in her email to Spears (see City Narrative page), bragged about transparency. Show me the transparency. All I have found in my research and experience with the city and Paws is that secrecy surrounds the program, that is unless one is in the inner city and Paws circle, involved with its creation, operation, and maintenance.
About the Video Clip
Not one councilor asked questions. It is like they are not present. McDaniel believes what he was told, that TNR will control the feral cat population. TNR does not control feral cat populations. That was withheld from councilors, along with all the other negative consequences of TNR programs.
Tom Bryan, mentioned by McDaniel in the video clip, is on the Paws board and the ACC Board. He has been a no kill advocate and cat feeder for many years. He, and others that share his view pont, have gained positions of power within animal control and with city officials that enable them to influence city policy and legislation that protects feral cats and their feeders.
Cotter, with Best Friends, avoids referring to feral cats specifically, but when she must, calls them pets. The Mayor, among other descriptions of Best Friends, says that Best Friends came here frequently over 3 years and worked to 'get the cats healthy' as well as giving other assistance. Who paid for the plane tickets, housing, food, and time? Taxpayers? Best Friends? Donations from sympathizers?
Since the TNR program officially began in Sept. after the grant was awarded, the Mayor's description of the actions of Best Friends means the program had been in action for three years. Additionally, the Save A Pet program is the umbrella program for TNR and it began in 2011.
There is no doubt that the constant association with Best Friends influenced the program design, its goal, and the content of the ordinance. Furthermore, Best Friends, like it does everywhere it goes, dangles money in city faces, promising big rewards if the city implements TNR and does it the way Best Friends wants it done. This program is stamped all over with the footprints of Best Friends and others like them. These fanatics are single-minded in their dedication to achieving their goals, regardless of the consequences. For them, the end justifies the means.
Section I (1) of the ordinance: Colony keepers are defined as non owners of the cats registered to them, Section II, first paragraph, exempts them from the responsibilities of ownership as described in the animal codes under 5 - 15 and 5- 16, which are included lower on this page under the heading of Comparisons. Sections 5 - 15 and 5 -16 of the codes were not included in the physical ordinance, and proved somewhat difficult to find, so I included them here). 5-15 and 5-16 exempt colony keepers from performing sanitation methods to avert “unsanitary, nauseous, foul, or offensive, or in any way detrimental to public health and/or safety issues surrounding concentrations of animals". What is a cat colony if it is not a "concentration of animals" producing byproducts several times a day that fit the description perfectly"? All other citizens are responsible for the unsanitary byproducts of their animals, but not colony keepers, who can be feeding masses of roaming cats that are depositing many pounds of feces and urine per day into the yards and parks of our city. Is it equitable or healthy to exempt a segment of a population from sanitation requirements, especially when it is well documented that those animals produce noxious odors and can carry infectious diseases and nasty parasites that are transmitted through their feces?
Why redefine feral cats to community cats, and cat feeders to caretakers?
Changing language changes how people feel and think about something, whether it is a social or political issue, or feral cats. It is an ancient propaganda tool used to sway public opinion. Calling feral cats community cats portrays them as pets. Pets are companion animals. Feral cats are not pets. They do not want human companionship, although they do want the food. They are likely to bite the hand that feeds them. The justification for the name change is that feral cats were created by an entire community, therefore belong to an entire community. Wrong. I did not create any of these cats nor did anyone I know, or ever have known.
Giving people who once were called hoarders the title Caretakers changes how people perceive them, just like it changes perceptions of feral cats. The title has changed, but the role they play has not. The ordinance doesn't even require them to trap cats for sterilization and vaccinations. In Section II, A 3., the ordinance states, "Adult cats and kittens . . . that can be captured . . . ."
The redefinitions are especially egregious and speak volumes about the attitudes of the program designers, their goals, and the real intentions of the TNR program, which are to protect people who are feeding vast numbers of feral cats, the ferals themselves, and to reduce euthanasia rates; it is not population control. The idea of population control is used to persuade people. There would not be a need for these re-designations if the program was objective, and at least partially dedicated to population control.
City Documents Page
TNR ADVOCATES CLAIM THAT CATS ONLY KILL WHEN THEY ARE HUNGRY. KITTY CAMS disprove THAT.
Comparisons of Animal Codes with the Cat Ordinance Designating Feral Cat Keepers as Non-Owners (they are cat owners in every sense and application except the law):
Magnitude 10 Contradictions
Columbus is designated as a BIRD SANCTUARY by the city animal codes, yet the city has enacted a program that will protect, enhance, and extend the lives of feral cats that are killing between 1.7 and 3.8 BILLION birds a year and 12 to 20 BILLION small mammals.
ARTICLE V. WILD BIRDS
Sec. 5-41. Protection.(Magnitude 10 Contradiction! Protection? With a TNR program in place that ensures healthier feral cats that can hunt birds even more, better, longer?)
(a) City designated bird sanctuary. The entire area embraced within the corporate limits of the City of Columbus is hereby designated as a bird sanctuary. (The definition of sanctuary: "A shelter from danger or hardship". If there was a sincere regard for birds, there would not be a TNR program and the most virulent predators of these birds would not be sheltered.)
(b) Signs. Appropriate signs are hereby authorized to be erected designating the City of Columbus as a bird sanctuary. ("Appropriate" signage would have 'cat' in place of 'bird', since the actual state of affairs is that Columbus is a cat sanctuary. The city can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.)
(c) Trapping, etc., unlawful. It shall be unlawful to trap, shoot, hunt, or attempt to shoot or molest in any manner any bird or wild fowl or to rob bird's nests, except that shooting of game birds may be allowed during hunting seasons in accordance with regulations of the Game and Fish Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. (People who promote and/or write laws that protect and extend the lives of feral cats, enabling cats to hunt better and longer, are complicit in the destruction and molestation of birds, hatchlings, and birds' eggs. The cats are the slingshots in these peoples' hands.)
Below are excerpts from the animal code, which is too long to include here in full (can be accessed at: (www.library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10583). The code includes definitions of animal ownership, ownership from which cat caretakers have been exempted. Before the enactment of this TNR program, all citizens were required to adhere to the same laws. Does this sound like equitable legislating to you?
The definition of responsible pet ownershipis found at this address ( I could not find this statement in the codes themselves, only on the Public Works website) www.columbusga.org/PublicWorks/Animal_Control/pdfs/ordinances.pdf
Definition of Responsiblepet ownership:
(a) Care of a pet in such a manner as to provide living conditions for the pet; (Colony keepers are encouraged to provide shelter, but it is not possible to provide shelter for all feral cats, and it is not a requirement anyway. Most of them live as they always have, by crawling under houses, napping in sewers, getting into cars, garages, and any other area providing cover. Be sure to examine the colony photos on factcheck to see what these feeding stations and shelters look like in real world application. You can also go to feral cat and animal sos pages on facebook to see more photos of feeding and shelter stations. They are locations of rotten wood, dirty plastic igloos, filthy paper plates, greasy china, mouldering kibble attracting roaches and other vermin, fleas, cat feces and urine. The city is advertising for new colony keepers. This means new colonies will be established in areas of the city that never had feral cats. See testimony box on City Narrative Page for an example of this expansion of cat colonies into areas that don't have feral cats. Feral cats coming your way to decorate your neighborhood in unpleasant ways.)
(b) Control of the pet so that the pet does not cause a nuisance or unsanitary conditions for the neighborhood or community;(Since they are exempted from the responsibilities of ownership by this ordinance, cat colony keepers are exempt from the responsibility for the nuisance and unsanitary conditions their cats create. Stock up on pooper scoopers and trash bags for disposal of the crap someone's mass of feral cats will leave on your property and in your childrens' sandboxes.)
Sec. 5-7. Owner responsibility.
The owner (as defined by section 5-5) shall be held responsible for the actions of all domesticated animals under his or her ownership , custody, supervision, or control.(Unless that person is a feral cat keeper. Registration of cats is required and the people who register them are responsible for the damage, nuisance, and sanitation problems their animals cause, but, even though feral cats are registered to their caretakers, the caretakers are exempt from responsibility of ownership. They may be exempted from the responsibilities of ownership by this ordinance, but they are still owners as defined by other law, courtesy, and common understanding of the responsibilities of ownership.)
Sec. 5-10. Control of domestic animals.
(a) this chapter exempts owners of dogs and cats whose residence is in rural Columbus from the requirement to have the animal under constant control by a responsible person. Animals in these exempted areas are subject to impoundment if the animal is observed on property other than the owner's property. (Once again, feral cat keepers ("owners") are exempt from rules that apply to everybody else).
(1) . . . cat owners residing in rural areas of the city and whose lots are zoned A-1 (agricultural) and whose said lots are five acres or more in area, are exempt from the requirements to keep dogs penned, or on a leash, and/or under voice control. These exempted owners are required to ensure that their dogs and cats do not leave the limits of the owner's property, and these owners are subject to all other provisions of this chapter.(and here too - cat colony owners are exempt from the rules that apply to everybody else.)
(c) Leash required in public parks. Without regard to other provisions of this article or other sections of the Columbus Code, it shall be unlawful for owners of dogs, cats or other animals to allow or permit such animals to be, or by negligence fail to prevent such animals from being in public parks, unless restrained by a leash and under the control of aresponsible person (The Animal Control and Paws buildings border Cooper Creek Park. There is a large contingent of feral cats in and around that park, as well as the plastic bowls and paper plate trash left there by their feeders, and the packages cats bury in the play areas of children. Are Paws and Animal Control releasing and feeding feral cats behind their buildings? Evidence and some testimony indicates they are indeed, and that both are releasing some ferals out the back door.)
(2) Nuisance control … it shall be unlawful for owners of dogs, cats, or other animals to allow, permit, or by negligence fail to prevent such animals from acting or performing in such a manner as to cause damage or unsanitary conditions to the property of another, public streets, public parks and recreation areas, or otherwise to cause a nuisance in Columbus. (Feral cat caretakers are exempted from this nuisance consequence since they are exempted from the responsibilities of ownership).
(5) Any animal to feed from, turn over, or otherwise disturb garbage containers (Ditto).
(6) Any animal to scratch or dig in flower beds or to soil or damage any property other than that of the owners(Ditto).
(8) Any dog or cat to go onto the property of another or onto public sidewalks, streets, alleys, parks and recreation areas, or onto other public or private ways, and attack another animal or fowl (Ditto).
(9) It shall be a violation of this chapter if, when a dog or cat deposits fecal matter on public ways or private property, the owner of the animal does not promptly remove such waste and deposit it in a sanitary manner. This requirement is applicable whether or not the animal is on a leash and/or under voice control (Ditto).
(10)Cats or dogs to crawl upon, sleep on, scratch or otherwise soil furniture, porches, automobiles or other tangible property of a neighbor or person other than the owner (Ditto).
Sec. 5-12. Cruelty to animals and failure to aid injured animals.
It shall be unlawful for any person, willfully and cruelly, to injure or kill any animal by any mode or means causing it unnecessary fright or pain, and it shall further be unlawful for any person, by neglect or otherwise, to cause or allow any animal to endure pain, suffering or injury. Acts violating this section shall include but are not limited to (The suffering of feral cats is well documented. See numerous links in the reference library):
The purpose of government is to promote the health and well being
of its citizens and to protect the rights of property owners and
residents to the pleasure and use of their property, not to serve
special interest groups. A TNR program does not eliminate citywide feral cat populations, but is a method by which cities can reduce or eliminateeuthanasia by re-releasing feral cats that are trapped. Government should not be in the business of reducing euthanasia rates. TNR satisfies the personal beliefs and emotional thinking of no kill advocates and cat fanatics who are pressuring Animal Controland government officials to stop euthanasia, regardless of the consequences. While presenting TNR to city agencies as a solution,groups suppress material that does not support their goals. It is an easy issue for city counselors, mayors, animal control, and other government personnel to support since the backlash from these groups for non-support can be harsh.