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What can I do to feral cats that come into MY yard?

Southport, NC |

I attract many, many birds to my yard, and now I have feral cats that constantly stay in my yard, under my house, on my front porch and in my backyard where they tear up my vegtable garden and spray all over the yard which drives my LEGALLY owned dogs crazy. I do not naturally dislike animals; however, this has gone on long enough. Animal control brings out a trap then they release it, Iam fed up and want them gone. Legally what are my option? I legally have the right to protect my home from any intruders, animal or otherwise. If this were an alligator, or a wild bear no one would care if I shot it, please let me know what I can do.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. They most certainly would care if you shot an alligator, bear, or feral cat.

    If you want the cats out of your yard stop feeding the birds, put up a fence, and allow your dogs to roam the yard.

    If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.

  2. You might also inquire why AC is releasing wild animals elsewhere, as that is the biological equivalent of dumping your trash on someone else's lawn. It is, in fact, illegal in a number of states for that reason, and that it spreads disease.

    An SNR program - Spay, Neuter, Release - is also a good way to reduce the numbers of feral cats in a given area.

    The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Feral cats are not owned by anyone per se in that they do not have a specific person or house that they "belong" to, but they are everyone's problem because the human race has allows cat populations to breed out of control by not being responsible and spaying and neutering consistently. You can't just go and kill them or otherwise harm them just because they bother you. There are many humane remedies if you want to control their intrusions onto your private property. Go online or to your local pet store for a myriad of inexpensive, effective suggestions. Another idea: Get involved in your community's management of feral cat populations with TNR (trap-neuter-return) by getting your own humane trap(s) and taking the cats to a vet or low-cost spay-neuter clinic to get fixed and then releasing them into a safe area where you and others provide food and water and periodically monitor them. Groups like Alley Cat Allies can provide you with information, support and perhaps even leads on funding sources. Going this route might change your entire outlook on things. Best of luck!

    This post should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.<br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Joan M. Bundy, Attorney at Law, Chandler, Arizona</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;

  4. I agree with many of the comments/answers already posted. But, I want to add another wrinkle: NC has some of the most progressive animal cruelty statutes in the country. While there's not a financial incentive to do so, the NC statutes allow for private attorneys-general to criminal charges against someone suspected of animal cruelty.

    As another attorney indicated, there are humane alternatives. Not the least of which is working through Animal Control to have the problem assessed and dealt with. Feral cats (in particular) are becoming an issue throughout the country and pose a special problem as many rescue organizations are not equipped to handle un-domesticated cats.

    But, you're much better off contacting Animal Control for your county or a rescue organization than taking the chance of being brought up on charge of animal cruelty while "protect[ing] your home from any intruders, animal or otherwise.]"

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