[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Fallsburg 8-11-2014 by L.L. No. 5-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The title of this chapter shall be the "Cat Control Law of the Town of Fallsburg."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGRICULTURAL AND MARKETS LAW
- The Agricultural and Markets Law of the State of New York in effect as of the effective date of this chapter, as amended by this chapter and as amended thereafter.
- Any cat of either sex and of any age.
- FERAL CAT
- Any cat born and/or raised in the wild, or who has been abandoned or lost and turned to wild ways in order to survive, and is not socialized or tame, nor comfortable with human contact.
- FREE-ROAMING CAT
- Any cat that, at any time, is not confined to its owner's property or residence and travels freely about the Town of Fallsburg shall be considered a free-roaming cat. A free-roaming cat interacts socially with people and is considered friendly. A free-roaming cat may be owned, stray, born feral, abandoned or lost.
- To provide food or shelter to any cat.
- HOMELESS OR ABANDONED CAT
- Any cat found outdoors which does not wear a form of identification required by § 111-6 hereof.
- For the purposes of this chapter, "nuisance" will be considered any behavior of cats causing reasonable annoyance, damage to property, excrement, smell, noise or compromise to the quality of one's life, business or property.
- Any unsecured portion of premises in which a cat can move at will.
- Every person having a right of property in a cat and every person who has a cat in his or her keeping or any person who harbors a cat for more than seven days or the adult member of a family in which a minor owner of a cat resides. Any firm, corporation, organization or department harboring, keeping or having an interest in or having control or custody of a cat.
The Town of Fallsburg finds that the running at large and other uncontrolled behavior of cats within the Town of Fallsburg has caused physical harm to persons and other animals and damage to property. Harboring large numbers of cats, unhealthy cats, unspayed, unneutered and unvaccinated cats has created a nuisance and threat to public safety within the Town.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and well-being of persons and property within the Town of Fallsburg by imposing restrictions and regulations upon the keeping and running at large of cats and the seizure thereof within the Town.
Pursuant to the authority granted by the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, any provisions of the Agriculture and Markets Law of the State of New York which limit the authority of the Town Board to enact the provisions of this chapter in effect on the effective date of this chapter are hereby superseded to the extent such provisions are inconsistent herewith.
This chapter shall be enforced by any animal control officer, peace officer, when acting pursuant to his special duties, or police officer in the employ of or under contract with the Town of Fallsburg or the Town Code Enforcement Officer or other designated Town officer, including issuing of violation tickets, seizure of cats, redemption and disposition. Such enforcement will be at the discretion of the attending officer.
Neither the Town, its officers or employees, agents or officers of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, nor the persons or agencies authorized by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter, shall be liable in damages or otherwise for the seizure, detention, adoption or euthanizing of any cat found without appropriate identification outside the residence of the owner.
Any owner of any cat over four months of age that shall be free roaming, as defined for the purposes of this chapter, at any time in any place other than the property or residence of its owner within the Town of Fallsburg shall be required under the penalty of this chapter to identify said cat by affixing a collar to said cat or by permanent tattoo or microchip. Such identification shall state the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the cat. All identification shall remain on the cat at all times. All collars, microchips and tattoos must be listed with the Town of Fallsburg Clerk, at no expense to the owner, to identify ownership. It will be a requirement of every free-roaming cat owner to provide to authorities, as set forth in § 111-5 of this chapter, an identification, certificate of spay/neuter and/or a rabies certificate on demand. Such certificates shall correspond to the Town Clerk's List of Cats.
It shall be unlawful for any person other than an animal control officer, police officer, a licensed veterinarian, an employee of a licensed animal shelter, an employee of a licensed municipal pound, or a person authorized by an Animal Control Officer to remove any identification from any cat not owned by the person.
It shall be unlawful for any cat to be outside the residence of the owner at any time unless the cat wears a collar, tattoo or microchip as described in § 111-6 of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any cat to be allowed outside the residence of the owner unless it has been currently vaccinated for rabies, and spayed or neutered. A cat may be exempt from vaccination by the Animal Control Officer or other designated Town officer upon presentation of proof from a licensed veterinarian that vaccination is not in the best interest of that particular cat.
It shall also be unlawful to permit your cat to run at large as a nuisance as defined for the purposes of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any owner of, or any person harboring, any cat to permit or allow such cat, while in the Town of Fallsburg to:
It shall be unlawful in the Town of Fallsburg to feed any cats, whether feral, free roaming or tagged with identification, outdoors in/on or around any business property or campground or apartment complex, multifamily dwelling or trailer park or in any zone within the Town of Fallsburg. It shall also be unlawful to feed cats at any other location, including private homes or property, that has been determined to attract additional cats, attract vector species or create a nuisance to adjoining or proximal property owners by the Animal Control Officer, a police officer or a Code Enforcement Officer.
An exemption will be available only by written application to the Town Board of Fallsburg. Subsequent review and approval by both the Animal Control Officer and the Town Board will be required. This exemption will also be available to organized feral colonies, to those meeting the criteria for approval of a feral cat colony stipulated by the Town of Fallsburg. This exemption will be subject to review and/or termination at any time at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer in concert with the Town Board.
Any cat running at large within the Town of Fallsburg shall be subject to seizure and impounding by any agent or officer duly designated by the Town or authorized by the provisions of Article 26 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Every cat seized shall be humanely fed and cared for during seizure period.
Notice of impounding. The Animal Control Officer, or authorized person seizing any cat, shall exercise reasonable diligence to ascertain the owner of the cat, and shall give or cause to be given reasonable notice to such owner, or an adult member of his or her family, that the cat has been seized. Such notice shall be personally served whenever possible or via phone or mail.
In conjunction with property management, business owners, landlords and any other entity experiencing nuisance cats, the Town of Fallsburg will be occasionally permitting TNR programs, including trap, neuter and release or relocation, euthanasia or adoption of subject cats at the discretion of the Town Board and the Animal Control Officer. These will be planned and scheduled events with notice provided in advance to those residents potentially affected. Residents will be responsible to keep their cats indoors during the designated times to avoid capture and inadvertent disposition of their cats.
The Town of Fallsburg, in an attempt to create an alternative to euthanasia, will be accepting applications for permits for a limited number of feral cat colonies. Strict adherence to the Town's Feral Cat Colony Rules and Regulations will be part of the criteria in maintaining an active colony. Once a permit is approved and issued, any violation of the rules and regulations will result in immediate termination of the permit.
An application for a Town permit is available to any resident of Fallsburg desirous of establishing and maintaining a feral cat colony in an approved location within the Town of Fallsburg. All criteria, as follows, must be met for review and approval of the Board of the Town of Fallsburg and the Fallsburg Animal Control Officer.
Permits will only be issued to approved locations in areas where public nuisance, i.e., odor, defecation, property damage and annoyance, is not an issue and in a location not prohibited by any other ordinance within the Town of Fallsburg.
The colony manager must be an adult, 21 years or older, a permanent resident of the Town of Fallsburg.
The colony owner must be the property owner of the land on which the feral cat colony will exist.
The colony manager must be able to provide a satisfactory financial plan for basic sustenance of said colony, including, but not limited to, veterinary care, euthanasia, food, shelter and any other miscellaneous expenses necessary to maintain the colony in a clean, humane and organized fashion.
All colonized cats must be spayed/neutered, rabies vaccinated and must have an ear notch. Note: If documented proof can be provided that a cat has been previously spayed/neutered and rabies vaccinated prior to ear notching, the Town will waive the ear notch requirement. The cat must be visually identified by means other than an ear notch, i.e., collar.
All cats will be cared for in a manner consistent with Article 26 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Laws.
Colony cats must be restricted, at all times, to the residence and property hosting the colony.
Cats will be fed/watered in amounts large enough to prevent straying.
The colony manager agrees to prevent any and all nuisance to any other properties, residents and businesses within the Town of Fallsburg.
The colony manager agrees to allow periodic routine inspection of the feral cat colony at the discretion of the Town of Fallsburg Animal Control Officer or the Town Board four times per calendar year.
Two written warnings will be provided to the colony manager upon confirmed violation of the above rules and regulations. A third violation will result in immediate revocation of said permit. The colony manager/property owner will be required to remove and place appropriately all cats within 30 days. Failure to remove cats will result in legal action against the colony manager/property owner and property. The property owner/manager of the colony will be subject to prosecution of any and all violations of Town and state codes resulting from termination of the Town permit.
The colony manager shall notify the Town of the termination of the colony and will be responsible to trap and rehome/euthanize all participating cats. Upon termination date of the town permit, all cats will be removed and placed appropriately within 30 days. Failure to remove cats will result in legal action against the colony manager/property owner and property.
The owner will be required to have the cat identified as described in this chapter. Proof of rabies/spay/neuter will be required and fees paid in full to the Town of Fallsburg Clerk as per the fee schedule set forth in this chapter. If the cat is not spayed/neutered/rabies vaccinated, the owner will be required to secure/pay a veterinarian to provide such while the cat remains as seized by the Town of Fallsburg or agree to prevent the cat from free roaming.
Seizure fee: The Town shall be entitled to a seizure fee of $100 per seizure.
Boarding fee: The Town shall be entitled to a boarding fee of $25 per day.
Impound fee: provided that the owner produces proof that the cat is listed with the Town Clerk and is clearly identified pursuant to this chapter and pays a fee of $75 for the first impoundment, a fee of $150 for the second impoundment; a fee of $250 for the third impoundment. The impoundment fee shall be in addition to the seizure fee and the boarding fee.
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to enforce this chapter shall be assessed against the property upon which the cat is harbored and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided in Article 15 of the Town Law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy.
If not redeemed within the five-day mandatory redemption period, the cat shall then be made available for adoption or euthanized subject to the provisions of § 374, Subdivisions 2-a, b, c, and d, of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Any person specified in the Enforcement section of this chapter having enforcement powers, having reasonable cause to believe that a person has violated this chapter, shall issue and serve upon such person an appearance ticket for such violation.
Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be liable for a mandatory civil penalty of $50 for a first violation, $150 for a second violation and $300 for a subsequent violation.
Any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a violation and in addition to being subject to a fine, may be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 15 days.
No person shall interfere with, hinder or molest any agent of the Town of Fallsburg in the performance of any duty as herein provided. Any person violating this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $500.
If any part of this chapter shall be held invalid, such part shall be deemed severable, and the invalidity thereof shall not affect the remaining parts of this chapter.