JEFFERSON, Iowa — Under prodding from an animal welfare organization, a central Iowa city is reviewing animal control policies and suspending the city practice of trapping and fatally shooting feral cats.
City administrator Mike Palmer said Friday that Mayor Craig Berry told council members Tuesday that he'd discussed the practice in a meeting with officials from the Animal Protection and Education organization and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. The decision to suspend the shooting of feral cats came soon after that.
Under a city ordinance, residents could request traps from the police department and then notify the department when the cats had been captured. The officers picked up the traps and cats and, if they're feral, kill them.
Officers are trained to recognize whether a cat is wild or is someone's pet, Palmer said, adding that the city has several feral cat colonies.
The city review could take 18 months to complete, Berry said. In the meantime, the city is looking to temporarily house up to 30 cats and raise money for a new animal shelter.
Josh Colvin with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, said shooting the feral cats isn't necessary.
"There are best practices out there, and this definitely is not," Colvin told Des Moines station KCCI.
The Animal Rescue League is working with Jefferson officials on ways to reduce the number of feral cats, such as trapping and neutering them, and on using more humane forms of euthanasia, Colvin said.
Jefferson is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Des Moines.