CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cat owners would be allowed to keep up to three cats above the age of six months -- and more, with a special permit -- under a cat-control ordinance introduced Monday evening at the Charleston City Council meeting.
However, cats no longer could prowl freely through city streets and backyards, the ordinance states. Owners would have to control them outside with a leash or keep them on their own property or another person's property with their consent.
Violators would be fined -- $30 for a first offense and up to $250 for five or more within a two-year period.
Any stray cats impounded by humane officers would have to be claimed within 10 days or be declared abandoned. People reclaiming impounded cats would have to show proof of rabies vaccination and/or pay the humane association for vaccination and other impoundment expenses.
Anyone wanting to keep more than three adult cats would have to obtain a special permit from a humane officer for a general $25 fee.
Humane officers would be required to keep records of wild, or feral, cats impounded by the city. At the discretion of the city manager or police chief, feral cats could be referred to groups that use alternative ways to control feral cat populations through neutering and releasing.
The council's Ordinance & Rules Committee will discuss the draft cat ordinance during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the AV Conference Room, on the third floor of City Hall.
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.