Being a pet owner comes with a certain level of responsibility.

Whether that animal is a dog, fish, cat or turtle, humane treatment of pets means providing for their basic needs.

Yet in every community there are those who do not take that responsibility seriously, and so many of those pets end up roaming the city streets, and Redwood Falls is no exception.

As a result, city leaders find themselves needing to adopt ordinances that address issues related to pet responsibility, especially that of animals running at large.

 According to the community’s ordinances, it is unlawful for the owner of any animal to allow that animal to run at large.

Stray and feral cats have been a problem in the community for some time, which led to the establishment of another ordinance that made it unlawful for anyone to continue to feed stray or feral cats when that feeding causes those animals to become a nuisance or creates an environment where the safety, health and welfare of the community could be compromised.

According to Jason Cotner, Redwood Falls chief of police, the police department does receive calls related to stray and feral cats, but he indicated that the police department does not trap cats.

Instead, the community has established a program through which residents can check out a live trap from city hall.

If residents capture a cat, they can take that animal, along with a letter from the city to the Redwood Area Animal Shelter and drop it off there without a fee, explained Cotner.

Cotner added he knows of people in the community who have taken it upon themselves to feed stray and feral cats, and, while he believes their intentions may be good, they are really exacerbating the problem.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) has championed efforts to reduce the number of free-roaming stray and feral cats nationwide for a number of reasons.

A majority of these animals suffer premature mortality from disease, starvation and even extremes in the weather. The AMVA also reports stray and feral cats as non-native predators can disrupt the ecology of a community and can pose a threat to public health as they spread everything from rabies to bacteria and parasites. In some cases, those stray and feral cats have to be euthanized.

Addressing stray and feral cat concerns in a community starts with cat owners being responsible for their cat(s). Do not let them roam and do not feed stray or feral cats.

More information may also be found on the city’s website at ci.redwood-falls.mn.us.

To learn about adopting a pet, visit the Redwood Area Animal Shelter Web site at redwoodareaanimalshelter.com.

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