[Added 7-20-2016 by Ord. No. 16-11]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. VIII, Management of Feral Cats, adopted 4-4-2012 by Ord. No. 12-05.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, this article is intended to govern all matters which relate to the management of domesticated cats and feral cats. For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth in this section. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular, words in the singular number include the plural, and words in the male gender include the female gender.
- An owner or caregiver has forsaken a domesticated cat entirely, or has neglected or refused to provide care and support to the cat.
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- Any person employed or appointed by the Borough of Seaside Heights who is authorized to investigate violations of laws and regulations concerning animals, and to issue citations in accordance with New Jersey law and this Code.
- ANIMAL COORDINATOR
- The person or organization designated annually by the Animal Control Officer or, in cases where a contract will be executed, appointed annually by the Mayor with the advice and consent of Borough Council, to maintain records of feral cats, to recommend caregivers and to do such duties as specified in this chapter.
- A volunteer, uncompensated person who agrees to serve to facilitate the TNR program within the Borough, including the provision of food, water or suitable shelter or to otherwise care for a cat or cats, in accordance with this chapter and any rules and regulations that may be established by the Borough Administrator and Animal Control Officer. A caregiver shall not be deemed an employee of the Borough and shall hold such volunteer position at the pleasure of the Borough Administrator or Animal Control Officer and may be removed from or precluded from holding such volunteer position in the sole discretion of the Borough Administrator or Animal Control Officer in light of concerns regarding public health, animal safety and sensitivity to the rights of residents, property owners and visitors.
- Any member of the domestic feline species: male, female or altered.
- CAT OF LICENSING AGE
- Any cat which has attained the age of six months, or which possesses a set of permanent teeth.
- Any room or group of rooms, cage or exhibition pen, not part of kennel, wherein cats for sale are kept or displayed.
- DOMESTICATED CAT
- A cat that is socialized to humans and is appropriate as a companion for humans.
- A tagged, notched or tipped left ear as performed by a licensed veterinarian.
- FERAL CAT
- Any cat that is not licensed in accordance with this chapter and is free roaming as part of an identifiable colony of such cats, which may consist of several cats or a single cat. Typically, a feral cat is a cat that is not socialized to humans and is not appropriate as a companion for humans.
- FERAL CAT COLONY
- A group of cats that congregates, more or less, together as a unit. Although not every cat in a colony may be feral, any nonferal cats that congregate with a colony shall be deemed to be a part of it.
- FREE-ROAMING CAT
- A cat that is regularly off the property of the owner and is not under the physical control and restraint of the owner.
- Rendered permanently incapable of reproduction as certified by a licensed veterinarian.
- Includes, but not be limited to, the following:
- A. Disturbing the peace by habitually or continually howling, crying, caterwauling, or screaming by a cat or cats;
- B. Spraying or leaving feces unburied or buried on private property by a cat or cats without permission of the owner of the property;
- C. Fighting by a cat or cats;
- D. The desecration or soiling of personal and/or real property by a cat or cats without permission of the owner of the property;
- E. Endangering the life or health of other animals or persons;
- F. Interfering with the rights of citizens, other than their owners, to enjoyment of life or property;
- G. Damaging the property of anyone other than their owner's property;
- H. Entering the property of anyone other than their owner's property;
- I. Killing or maiming domestic animals or wildlife;
- J. Fouling the air with odor and thereby causing unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others near to the premises where the cat or cats are kept or harbored;
- K. Causing unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings where the cat or cats are kept or harbored;
- L. Becoming offensive or dangerous to the public health, welfare or safety by virtue of the number and/or types of cats maintained in light of the nature and the size of the property on which they are maintained.
- When applied to the proprietorship of a cat, shall include any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust, estate, or any other legal entity having a right of property (or custody) in such cat and every person who has such cat in his/her keeping, or who harbors or maintains a cat or knowingly permits a cat to remain on or about any premises occupied by that person. A caregiver, however, shall not be considered an owner.
- RESCUE GROUP
- A for-profit or not-for-profit entity or a collaboration of individuals with at least one of its purposes being the adoption or placement of cats in homes with humans to serve as companion animals.
- SUITABLE SHELTER
- Shelter that provides protection from rain, sun, and other elements that is adequate to protect the health of the cat.
- ZOONOTIC DISEASE
- Those diseases transmittable to humans from animals, including parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases.
Domesticated cats, generally. Owners of domesticated cats shall:
Provide appropriate and adequate food, water and suitable shelter for their cats, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:22-26;
Exercise reasonable care to guard against the cat creating a nuisance;
Not permit a sexually intact (not spayed or neutered) domesticated cat to roam unsupervised or off-leash; and
Not abandon a domesticated cat, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:22-26.
Provisions relating to rabies vaccination of cats.
Vaccination and license requirements. No person shall own, keep, harbor or maintain any cat over six months of age which possesses a permanent set of teeth within the Borough of Seaside Heights unless such cat is vaccinated and licensed. The provisions of this section do not apply to cats held in a cattery, or those held by a state or federal licensed research facility, or a veterinary establishment where cats are received or kept for diagnostic, medical, surgical or other treatments, or licensed animal shelters, pounds, kennels or a pet shop.
Vaccination. All cats shall be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian in accordance with the latest Compendium of Animal Rabies Vaccines and Recommendations for Immunization published by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, except as provided for in Subsection B(4) below.
Vaccination certificate. A certificate of vaccination shall be issued to the owner of each animal vaccinated on a form recommended by the state.
Exemptions. Any cat may be exempted from the requirements of such vaccination for a specified period of time by the Animal Control Officer, upon presentation of a veterinarian's certificate stating that because of an infirmity or other physical condition, or regimen of therapy, the inoculation of such cat shall be deemed inadvisable.
Domesticated cats must have a license number displayed. Any person who shall own, keep or harbor a cat of licensing age shall annually apply for and procure from the Borough Clerk of the Borough of Seaside Heights a license and official registration tag with license number, or a registration sleeve for each cat so owned, kept or harbored, and shall place upon such cat a collar or other device with the license number securely fastened or displayed thereto. Acceptable methods of displaying the license number shall include, but are not limited to, breakaway or elastic collars. License tags or sleeves are not transferable.
Time for applying for license. The owner of any newly acquired cat of licensing age, or of any cat which attains licensing age, shall make application for license tag or sleeve for such cat within 10 days after such acquisition or age attainment. This requirement will not apply to a nonresident keeping a cat within the Borough of Seaside Heights for no longer than 15 days.
Cats brought into jurisdiction.
Any person who shall bring, or cause to be brought, into this Borough any cat licensed in another state for the current year, and bearing a registration tag or sleeve and shall keep the same or permit the same to be kept within the Borough of Seaside Heights for a period of more than 30 days shall immediately apply for a license and registration tag or sleeve for each such cat.
Any person who shall bring or cause to be brought into this Borough any unlicensed cat and shall keep same or permit same to be kept within the Borough of Seaside Heights for a period of more than 10 days shall immediately apply for a license and registration tag or sleeve for each such cat.
Application; contents; preservation of information. The application shall state the breed, sex, age, color and markings of the cat for which license and registration are sought, and whether it is of a long- or short-haired variety; also the name, e-mail, street and post office address of the owner and the person who shall keep or harbor such cat. The information on said application and the registration number issued for the cat shall be preserved for a period of three years by the Borough Clerk.
License forms and tags. License forms and official tags or sleeves shall be furnished by the municipality and shall be numbered serially and shall bear the year of issuance and the name of the municipality.
Evidence of inoculation with rabies vaccine or certification of exemption; requirement for license. The Borough Clerk shall not grant any such license and official registration tag or sleeve for any cat, unless the owner thereof provides evidence that the cat to be licensed and registered has been inoculated with a rabies vaccine of a type approved by and administered in accordance with the recommendations of the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Human Services, or has been certified exempt by the Animal Control Officer as provided for in this article. The rabies inoculation shall be administered by a duly licensed veterinarian, or by such other veterinarian permitted by law to do the same.
License fee schedule. A license shall be issued after payment of a fee of $30 for each unneutered/unspayed cat and $8 for each neutered/spayed cat. A late fee of $5 will also be imposed for any licenses issued after January 31.
Fees; renewals; expiration date of license.
The person applying for the license and registration tag and/or sleeve shall pay the fee fixed or authorized. The fee for the renewal of the license and registration tag or sleeve shall be the same as for the original, and said license, registration tag or sleeve and renewal thereof shall expire on January 31 in the following year.
Only one license and registration tag or sleeve shall be required in the licensing year for any cat in this Borough.
Loss of license. If a license tag or sleeve has been misplaced or lost, the Borough Clerk may issue a duplicate license and/or registration sleeve for that particular cat at a fee of $5.
Proof of licensing. Proof of licensing shall be produced by any person owning, keeping, maintaining or harboring a cat upon the request of any health official, police officer, animal control officer or other authorized person.
Interfering with persons performing duties under this article. No person shall hinder, molest or interfere with anyone authorized or empowered to perform any duty under this article; to do so shall be a violation of this article and shall subject the violator to the penalties as provided in this chapter.
Disposition of fees collected. License fees and other monies collected or received under the provisions of this article shall be forwarded to the Chief Financial Officer of the Borough and shall be placed in a special account separate from any of the other accounts of the municipality and shall be used for the following purposes only: collecting, keeping and disposing of cats liable to seizure; for local prevention and control of rabies; providing anti-rabies treatment under the direction of the Animal Control Officer for any person known or suspected to have been exposed to rabies; and for administering the provisions of this article, including provisions regarding support of feral cat colonies.
The Animal Control Officer or any other person appointed for the purpose shall take into custody and impound or cause to be taken into custody and impounded:
Any cat running at large in this municipality.
Any cat off the premises of the owner or the person keeping or harboring said cat without a current registration tag on its collar and not controlled by a leash as provided in this article.
Any female cat in season off the premises of the owner or of the person keeping or harboring said cat.
Any cat or other animal which is reasonably suspected to be rabid.
Any cat or other animal off the premises of the owner reported to or observed by the Animal Control Officer to be ill, injured or creating a threat to public health, safety or welfare or otherwise interfering with the enjoyment of property.
When any cat so seized has been detained for seven days after notice, when notice can be given, or has been detained for seven days after seizure, when notice cannot be given, in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey, and if the owner or person keeping or harboring said cat has not claimed said cat and paid all expenses incurred by reason of its seizure and detention, and if the cat shall be unlicensed at the time of seizure and the owner or person keeping or harboring said cat has not produced a license and registration tag for said cat, the Animal Control Officer or other designated authority may cause the cat to be offered for adoption or humanely euthanized in the event adoption is not possible.
Feral cat colonies in general.
Feral cat colonies shall be permitted, and caregivers shall be entitled to maintain them in accordance with the terms and conditions of this article.
Restriction on feral cat colony location.
No feral cat colonies shall be located in the following zoning districts:
Resort Recreational District.
Resort Recreational District A.
Retail Business District on the west side of Ocean Terrace between Hiering Avenue and Porter Avenue.
Retail Business District on the east and west sides of the Boulevard between Hiering Avenue and Porter Avenue.
Public District, including the oceanfront and bayfront.
Neither feral cats nor feral cat colonies shall be maintained by any caregiver on property owned or controlled by the Borough of Seaside Heights located within the boundaries of the Borough of Seaside Heights. This shall not preclude the Borough of Seaside Heights from operating an animal sanctuary and feral cat colonies on land owned or controlled by the Borough that is located within the boundaries of a different municipality.
In the areas set forth in Subsection B above, the Animal Control Officer shall effectuate the capture of all feral cats and stray cats and transport same to a suitable animal sanctuary in New Jersey or out of state, or the Ocean County Animal Shelter if an animal sanctuary is unavailable or unwilling to accept the feral cats or stray cats.
Approved cat colonies existing on or before July 20, 2016, in one of the above zones (other than the Resort Recreational District and Resort Recreational District A) will be permitted to remain at that location until such time as the caregiver no longer resides at the property or otherwise discontinues caring for the colony.
[Added 8-17-2016 by Ord. No. 16-12]
Except as provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to maintain a feral cat colony by providing food, water, or other forms of sustenance and care, unless such person is a resident of the Borough of Seaside Heights, and has been designated as, and is currently appointed, a caregiver by the Animal Control Officer.
Borough residents desiring to provide food, water and other forms of sustenance and care to feral cats in Seaside Heights shall annually apply to the Animal Control Officer to be designated as a caregiver, and every person so designated shall comply with the provisions of this article throughout his or her term of appointment.
The Animal Control Officer may only grant approval of a caregiver if:
A waiver of liability and indemnification agreement has been executed by the colony caregiver, on a form approved by the Borough, which shall be filed with the Borough Administrator; and
The caregiver has successfully completed the certification and training program conducted by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, or other certified instructor.
The owner of private property upon which the proposed feral cat colony will be located has granted written permission for the feral cat colony.
Adjacent property owners have approved the feral cat colony in writing.
After appointment as a caregiver, the caregiver must meet with the Animal Coordinator, who will serve as a clearinghouse for information on current caregivers, education for new caregivers, and assistance for persons found in violation of this chapter.
The Animal Coordinator shall:
Help to resolve any complaints over the conduct of a colony caregiver or of cats within a colony;
Maintain records provided by colony caregivers on the size and location of the colonies, as well as the vaccination and spay/neuter records of cats in the caregiver's colony;
Report biannually to the Animal Control Officer and Borough Administrator, on July 1 and January 1 of every year, the following information regarding the previous six months of monitoring:
Number of known colonies in the Borough;
Total number of cats in colonies;
Number of cats and kittens spayed and neutered pursuant to the TNR program;
Number of cats and kittens placed in permanent homes;
Advise caregivers of the names of the licensed veterinarians under contract with the Borough to perform those veterinarian services required by this article;
Obtain from caregivers the invoice of the veterinarian contracted by the Borough to perform veterinarian services required by this article and present the invoice to the Borough Chief Financial Officer for payment; and
Provide caregivers prior approval for veterinarian services required under this article.
Caregivers of feral cat colonies shall implement proper management and sterilization practices, as well as seek the assistance of the Animal Control Officer and/or Animal Coordinator as follows:
Written permission from the property owner on whose property the feral cat colony will be located or cared for;
Evidence of reasonable efforts made to obtain the support for the feral cat colony from all adjacent property owners; and
A good faith estimate of the number of feral cats and kittens residing in the colony at the time a caregiver's designation is applied for.
Assume personal responsibility and make arrangements for feeding and providing emergency veterinarian treatment as needed to their feral cat or feral cat colony on a regular basis throughout the year, including weekends, holidays, and at such times as the caregiver is unable, for any reason, to provide such care.
Provide for the regular and frequent trapping of not less than one time per month, through the use of humane box traps, of feral cats and kittens over the age of six weeks who have not been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and marked as provided herein. The trapped feral cats shall be spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and marked by having their ears tipped by a veterinarian professionally licensed by the State of New Jersey. It is also recommended, but not required, that all trapped feral cats be vaccinated by the veterinarian for distemper and implanted with a microchip for identification purposes.
Make every attempt to remove kittens from the colony between the age of one week and 16 weeks for domestication and placement with a person who is willing to be the owner of same.
If possible, have all trapped feral cats and kittens tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus and any other infectious disease as mandated by law; and to have those which test positive for same humanely euthanized or assure that any feral cat or kitten known to have an infectious disease is not released to the outdoors.
Sterilize (spay/neuter) all adult cats that can be captured.
Vaccinate, as required by law, all cats that can be captured against rabies (three-year vaccine).
Maintain, on an individual cat basis, documentation of all vaccinations, inoculations, medical procedures and sustenance provided to feral cats under their care and, upon request, to provide such documentation to the Animal Control Officer or Animal Coordinator.
Authorize veterinarians attending to feral cats or kittens under their care to release copies of all medical records with regard to such feral cats to the Animal Control Officer or Animal Coordinator.
Maintain protection for the feral cats and kittens sufficient to shield them from adverse weather conditions, and maintain the surrounding area free and clear of garbage, trash and debris.
Notify the Animal Control Officer or Animal Coordinator of the introduction of any new cats to the feral cat colony.
Ensure that a feral cat colony for which a person has been designated a caregiver does not exceed 10 cats unless reasonably authorized by the Animal Control Officer, giving consideration to the size, shape, locations and ability to maintain the feral cat colony on the property.
Use due consideration to avoid the harming of rare, threatened or endangered species under the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1 et seq.
Observe the colony cats at least twice per week and keep a record of any illnesses or unusual behavior noticed in any colony cats; and
Take reasonable steps to prevent colony cats from creating a nuisance on properties not owned by or under the control of the caregiver.
In the event a caregiver is found by the Animal Control Officer to have violated any provision of this article, or failed to comply with any of its provisions, the Animal Control Officer may require the caregiver to cease, desist and rectify his or her violation, or terminate his or her designation as a caregiver, depending on the severity of the violation. If abatement of the violation is appropriate, the caregiver shall be issued a notice of noncompliance specifying that the caregiver has 48 hours within which to provide a written response to the Animal Control Officer specifying the steps to be taken by the caregiver to come into compliance with the provisions of this article within a ten-day period. The Animal Control Officer may grant one twenty-day extension if the caregiver demonstrates a good faith effort to comply and the Animal Control Officer feels that compliance may be achieved within the twenty-day extension period. The caregiver shall make an action report to the Animal Control Officer at the end of the compliance period or when compliance is achieved, whichever occurs first. If the Animal Control Officer determines that the violation is sufficiently serious to warrant termination of the caregiver designation, a notice of such termination shall be provided to that person.
If compliance with the provisions of this chapter are not achieved as provided in Subsection B above, or if termination as a caregiver is otherwise warranted, the Animal Control Officer shall cause a notice of termination to be either personally delivered to the caregiver or mailed to the caregiver by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the address provided by the caregiver on his or her current application for such designation. Compliance with this subsection by personal delivery shall be effective upon delivery; compliance with this subsection by mailing shall be effective on the day first delivered to the recipient's address. Termination of designation as a caregiver by the Animal Control Officer may be appealed to the Borough Administrator by such person by providing notice of the appeal in writing stating the basis for the appeal within 10 calendar days of delivery of the notice of termination as required in this subsection. The Borough Administrator's decision shall be made in light of concerns regarding public health, animal safety and sensitivity to the rights of residents, property owners and visitors and effective and efficient program administration and shall be final and binding.
The provisions of this section do not grant to caregivers any authority to enter upon the property of others without the property owner's permission.
Earmarking will be used on feral cats in order to be identified as a spayed or neutered and vaccinated member of a managed colony.
In the event the Animal Control Officer becomes aware, either through a complaint or personal observation, of a feral cat or feral cat colony, he shall make a reasonable attempt to determine if a suspected feral cat or feral cat colony has a caregiver who will comply with this chapter. If, after making such an attempt, no caregiver is identified or is willing to comply with the provisions of this chapter, the Animal Control Officer shall take all necessary action to obtain permission from the property owner(s) to enter upon the property to capture and remove the feral cats, and to dispose of the captured cats in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
The Animal Control Officer shall make a good faith effort to contact animal sanctuaries in New Jersey and out of state for the purpose of making arrangements to deliver feral cats and stray cats who do not have a caregiver. In the event that no animal sanctuary is available or willing to accept the cats, the Animal Control Officer may deliver the cats to the Ocean County Animal Control Shelter.
The Animal Control Officer has the right to seize or remove cats from a colony that have not been vaccinated against rabies and which are demonstrating signs of the disease.
The Animal Control Officer has the right to seize or remove a cat from a colony that is creating a nuisance, as defined above, when the caregiver has been given time to remove the nuisance but failed to do so.
The Animal Control Officer has the right to seize or remove a colony of cats when the caregiver regularly fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter and the Animal Coordinator has not been able to obtain a replacement or substitute caregiver.
The Animal Control Officer has the right to seize or remove cats from a colony if it is determined that there is a public health threat, including, but not limited to, zoonotic diseases, feline HIV or leukemia.
The Animal Control Officer and police officers may investigate any nuisance complaint.
The Borough may establish a fund or budget line item, as permitted by law, or otherwise provide services to offset the costs of trapping, neutering, and vaccinating captured feral cats that can be returned to an appropriate, controlled, protected and registered colony site. Caregivers for such colonies, whether one or several animals, may be aided by the Borough in providing traps for the capture of the cat, transportation to a spay/neuter facility and offsetting costs, to the extent that funding is available.
Any donated funds collected shall be given to the Chief Financial Officer and placed in a trust dedicated to the fulfillment of the TNR program, as allowed under applicable laws.
The Borough Administrator and Animal Control Officer shall have the authority to adopt further rules and regulations applicable to the TNR program to the extent that the same are consistent with and do not modify the provisions of this article.
Any person who violates any one or more provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 for each separate offense and/or confinement in the Ocean County jail for a period of not more than 90 days. In the case of a continuing violation or violations, a fine of not more than $500 may be assessed for each day that said violation or violations are not corrected. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
Not later than December 31, 2018, the Borough of Seaside Heights shall study the effectiveness of the TNR program and review the continuance of this chapter.