Strays / Feral Cats
Free roaming cats also referred to as community cats present a challenge to the health and safety of county citizens as well as the health and safety of the cats. In order to confront this challenge with a new approach the Board of County Commissioners has approved a 3 year pilot Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, & Release (TNVR) program.
Animal Services supports this program and would like to emphasize the following:
If you own a cat have it spayed or neutered early. Most people are unaware that female kittens can become pregnant as early as 5 months of age. Early spay/neuter is a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted litters.
Keep your cat indoors; it is a safer environment for your cat. In general, indoor cats live a longer and healthier life. To help you overcome some of the hurdles of keeping your cat in, see the following links:
Your cat’s health and safety will be much better protected if he or she lives indoors. Pinellas County Animal Services joins many humane organizations and animal rescue groups to urge cat owners to keep their cats indoors. Coyotes see cats as part of their food chain and will not hesitate to try and catch your pet cat. Domesticated family pet cats are still required to remain indoors and not be allowed outdoors to roam freely. This category of cats is required to have a current county license.
Under the new TNVR pilot program individual citizens and groups that provide food and care for feral or community cats can legally do so under the new ordinance. Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release (TNVR) activities and programs are authorized in Pinellas County with the following guidelines.
- “Community Cat” is any feral or free-roaming cat that is cared for by one or more individual caregivers, provided that the cat is sterilized, up to date on rabies vaccination and distinguished from other cats by being ear-tipped and tattooed.
- Community Cats are exempt from the county ordinances for being at large outdoors and being abandoned.
- Community Cats are exempt from the county licensing requirement. But caregivers must maintain a record of up to date rabies vaccination.
- If a Community Cat is impounded, it shall be held for seven days including the day of impoundment. A caregiver may redeem a community cat within the holding period upon paying the reclaim fees.
- The first time a community cat is impounded, the community cat will be microchipped and vaccinated for rabies in accordance with the applicable law.
- All community cat locations must be maintained on the private property of the caregiver or on property belonging to another landowner with that landowner’s permission.
- A community cat must not be released within 150 yards of any park, conservation land, beach, wildlife area, day care center or elementary school.
- Community cats must be provided with basic necessities on a regular and ongoing basis, including, but not limited to, proper nutrition and medical care.
- Food must be maintained in proper feeding containers and placed in a manner and for a duration that will not attract wildlife or other animals.
- Water must be provided and must be clean, potable, and free from debris and algae.
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