[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of North Tonawanda 3-2-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally adopted as Ch. 34 but was renumbered to maintain the alphabetical order of the Code.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED CAT
- A cat of any age which shall be left unattended, unclaimed, unlicensed or at large for a period of 72 hours or more.
- ANIMAL WARDEN
- An officer or agency designated by the Common Council.[Added 10-7-2014]
- AT LARGE
- A cat not confined, outside an area of escape such as a pen,
corral, yard, cage, house, vehicle, or other secure enclosure, unless
otherwise under appropriate human control.[Added 10-7-2014]
- Any animal of a feline species.
- A group of one or more community cats.[Added 10-7-2014]
- COMMUNITY CAT
- Any cat that is:[Added 10-7-2014]
- A. Homeless, stray, at large or abandoned, where the cat:
- C. A cat that lives in the community but is not owned by a human, sometimes referred to as a "free-roaming" or "street" cat.
- DOMESTICATED CAT
- A cat that is social towards humans, that currently lives
within the residence or on the property of a person or persons accepted
as the cat's owner and that is considered appropriate as a companion
for humans.[Added 10-7-2014]
- EAR TIPPING
- A straight-line cutting of the tip of the left ear of a cat
with the cat is anesthetized.[Added 10-7-2014]
- To permanently sterilize male cats to render them incapable
of impregnating female cats by means of either surgery performed to
remove the reproductive organs or chemical sterilization by which
the cats are injected with a drug approved by the United States Food
and Drug Administration for that purpose.[Added 10-7-2014]
- Every person having a property right in a cat and every person keeping, harboring or feeding a cat for more than 48 hours. This provision shall not include a person who keeps or feeds a cat on behalf of an owner at the owner's request to accommodate the owner's temporary needs.
- An individual, firm, partnership, corporation or association of persons.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- A cat that causes damage to public or private property or causes harm to any person.
- To permanently sterilize female cats to prevent estrus (heat)
cycles and eliminate their ability to become pregnant by means of
either surgery performed to remove the ovaries and uterus or chemical
sterilization by which the cats are injected with a drug approved
by the United States Food and Drug Administration for that purpose.[Added 10-7-2014]
- To spay or neuter a cat.[Added 10-7-2014]
- STRAY CAT
- A cat having no known owner or custodian.
- TRAP, NEUTER, VACCINATE AND RETURN PROGRAM (TNVR)
- A program in which community cats are humanely trapped, evaluated,
vaccinated, sterilized and ear tipped by a veterinarian and returned
to the trap location with the intent of controlling or reducing feline
population and reproduction.[Added 10-7-2014]
- A person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the
State of New York.[Added 10-7-2014]
It shall be the duty and responsibility of every owner of any cat to exercise and maintain such care and control over it that it does not become a nuisance, as set forth in this chapter, within the confines of the city.
A cat shall become a nuisance whenever it shall engage in or conmlit any of the following within the confines of the city:
Injure or threaten injury to persons or other domestic animals or birds.
Injure property, including lawns, flowers, shrubs and trees.
Upset or otherwise interfere with garbage receptacles.
Be found in any commercial establishment without the consent or permission of the owner thereof.
Be kept or placed by its owner under cruel, unsanitary or otherwise inhumane conditions or be abandoned by its owner.
Defecate, urinate, dig or otherwise damage property other than the property of the owner.
Engage in loud or habitual crying or whining or conduct itself in such a manner as to unreasonably and habitually disturb the comfort or repose of any person other than the owner of such cat.
The owner of every cat shall be responsible for maintaining such animal in safe, sanitary and healthful surroundings and in such a manner as will not constitute a nuisance to neighboring property owners or to the public.
It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, maintain or permit more than an unreasonable number of cats on any premises, regardless of the number of owners. For the purposes of this subsection, an unreasonable number of cats shall mean a number in excess of the number that may be safely maintained in sanitary and healthful conditions on the premises without constituting a nuisance to neighboring property owners. The existence of noxious odor unsightly litter or violations of other provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to constitute such a nuisance. For the purposes of this subsection, proof that more than five cats are kept, harbored, maintained or permitted at any premises shall constitute prima facie evidence of an unreasonable number in violation of this subsection; however, the owner of such cats may refute such evidence by showing to the court that such cats are, in fact, maintained in a safe, sanitary and healthful condition and do not constitute a nuisance to neighboring owners, and such proof shall constitute a defense to a charge under this subsection.
No cat shall be sheltered, maintained or harbored that is not domesticated. The area where cats are kept shall be clean and sanitary and shall not create a disturbance by reason of noise, odor or other causes. No person shall abandon any cat or permit a cat in his custody to become a stray.
No cat shall cause damage to any person or property. Any person who owns, maintains or harbors any cat that causes such damage shall be strictly liable for the damage and may be prosecuted for a violation of this chapter.
No person shall harbor, maintain or feed any unlicensed or stray cat. Any person who shall do so following receipt of a notice from the Animal Warden advising said person that a violation of this chapter is occurring may be prosecuted if he continues such activities.
Any person who observes or has knowledge of a cat violating any provision of this chapter may file a signed complaint under oath, with the Animal Warden of the city specifying the objectionable conduct of the cat and the name and address, if known, of the owner or other person harboring said cat.
Upon receipt by the Animal Warden of any such complaint, or in the event that any cat is found by the Animal Warden to be in violation of any provision of this chapter, the Animal Warden shall, if possible, seize and take into custody said cat and, in any event, issue or deliver to the owner of said cat an appearance ticket detailing the violations and instructing the owner to appear before the City Court or to answer such appearance ticket by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, within five days of the date of such violation. If said appearance ticket is disregarded by such person, the Animal Warden or complainant may file an information with said Court which Court may then issue a warrant for the arrest of such person.
Any person thereafter convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $250 or up to 15 days in jafl or by a civil penalty not exceeding $1,000.
Any cat found in violation of this chapter will be seized by the Animal Warden, and the owner, in order to obtain possession of the cat, must pay a fine and per diem expenses incurred in the keeping of said cat. The expense shall be in such amounts as follows:
On the first pickup of any cat, a fine of $25 for the release of said cat, if said cat is released at the city's holding area, to be paid to the City Clerk, or, if released at the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), a fine of $25 plus per-diem expenses shall be paid to the SPCA, which shall reimburse the city on a monthly basis for the flues so collected. The per-diem expenses shall be retained by the SPCA.
On the second pickup of the cat, a fine of $50 for the release of said cat shall be imposed.
TNVR of community cats shall be legal in the City of North Tonawanda, and interested citizens are encouraged to participate in and support TNVR activities on a voluntary basis.
All persons who attempt to trap community cats for TNVR in the City of North Tonawanda should be familiar with the guidelines supported by regional and national feral and community cat organizations regarding appropriate methods of TNVR.
Socialized cats and all kittens subject to TNVR shall be eligible to be, but not mandated to be, re-socialized and put up for adoption.
An ear-tipped cat received by local shelters shall be returned to the location where trapped unless veterinary care is required. A trapped, ear-tipped cat shall be released on site unless veterinary care is required. TNVR programs shall be permitted to feed, water and care for trapped cats until they are released.
Notice. All persons wishing to engage in TNVR must annually advise the office of the City Clerk/Treasurer. All TVNR programs shall provide the following information:
Upon receipt of the TNVR notice, the City Clerk-Treasurer shall maintain a log of TNVR programs within the City of North Tonawanda.
Failure to provide the requisite notice to the City Clerk-Treasurer prior to implementation of a TNVR program shall be considered a violation of this section.
If any section of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid, the remainder of this chapter shall be deemed valid and effective.