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Yuba City Struggles With Feral Cat Population; Considering Feeding Ban

YUBA CITY (CBS13) - It's a cat conundrum in Yuba City and neighbors say compassion may be to blame. City council members will vote on an ordinance Tuesday that would prohibit feeding feral cats.

Animal control services says it's been getting 5-10 calls a week about the animals, and says a ban is a good first step toward combating the problem. But some residents say an abatement program is what's really needed.

Debbie Jackson runs a cat rescue in Yuba City. In the last week she's caught four feral cats relying on the free-feeding public for food.

"They shouldn't be feeding them, but what else can you do?" said Jackson.

But that meal ticket could soon be banned by city council and violators could be forced to pay a fine between $250 and $1,000. Mayor John Dukes says it's part one of a more comprehensive plan.

"Our goal is to stop the free-feeding, which just attracts more animals. But as we bring in the feral cats, the plan is at some point to have a spay, neuter and release program, where we put them back out into the community," said Dukes.

Animal control officers say it's an overdue solution to a problem that's been clawing away at the community for far too long.

"It's creating a nuisance for the people who want to enjoy their own property. They're unable to garden because of cat feces, flies, smell," said Diana Barrett, animal services manager with Sutter Animal Services Authority.

But what smells to Jackson is the ban itself.

"I understand why they're doing it, but it's still not good for the cats," she says.

Sutter County Animal Services stopped accepting feral cats three years ago for health and safety reasons.

The city council will vote on the ban at Tuesday meeting at 6 p.m.

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