Trouble in Anaheim
Message from the Human:
There’s a topic that I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to address for a couple weeks now, but since it is starting pick up steam and get more attention, here goes:
Some of you may have heard about the new law that has gone into effect for the City of Anaheim as of January 1, 2015. According to the official wording of section 6.44.1301 of the Anaheim Municipal Code:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally provide food, water, or other forms of sustenance to a feral cat of feral cat colony within the boundaries of the City. It is not a violation of this section for any person to feed or shelter feral cats while working with an animal control agency under contract with the City of Anaheim.”
Understandably, animal rights activists across the county (and the country) are very upset about this new law and are trying to figure out what it means for the future of feral cats in Anaheim—including the Disneyland area.
The wording of the law makes it relatively difficult to understand and certainly open to interpretation. As far as I know, the law has yet to be enforced anywhere within the city because it is so vague. Wagering a guess, it seems as though it was enacted without putting much thought into the logistics of how it would work—most likely by city officials who are relatively ignorant about feral cats.
For now, it is completely unclear what the future may hold for Anaheim’s feral cats, but efforts are being made by a number of organizations to get the city to rethink the code and make it more humane.
Trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs, like the one at Disneyland, are an effective way to control cat overpopulation without resorting to extreme measures like cutting off food supplies. Orange County’s animal shelter supports TNR and runs a successful program (which is one reason why the wording of the city code is so convoluted).
Feral cats are often vilified by people who don’t understand how colonies work, but the reality is that the vast majority of these animals are completely healthy and no less likely to spread disease than regular house cats (there haven’t ever been reported cases of rabies from feral cats). In fact, when these cats are fed and well cared for, they can actually be very beneficial to their communities—they help control rodent populations, for example.
I’ve had several people ask what this new law might mean for the Cats of Disneyland, and the only answer I can honestly give is “I don’t know.” As an unofficial website without any affiliation with Disney, we don’t know what type of contact the company might have had with the city. There’s been talk that the Disneyland Cats might somehow be excluded from the ordinance, but it’s difficult to know exactly what will actually happen.
Because things are so up in the air, we all have the opportunity to join in the fight to get this code modified or overturned. There are petitions like this one that you can sign, and you can also contact local politicians to ask that they consider changing the law. If the city will consider altering its stance to be in favor of TNR programs rather than asking residents to starve the cats they care for, things are going to turn out better for everyone. If you do decide to contact city officials, I urge you to do so politely. This law almost certainly stems from ignorance first and foremost, so this is your opportunity to educate people about the benefits feral cats bring to their communities.
Contact information for city officials is listed below. Hopefully we can turn this into a positive situation for cats across the city—Disneyland included.
Mayor: Tom Tait (firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-765-5247)
Code Enforcement Manager: Sandra Sagert (email@example.com, 714-765-4413)
Mayor Pro Tem: Lucille Kring (firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-765-5047)
Council Member: Kris Murray (email@example.com, 714-765-5247)
Council Member: James Vanderbilt (firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-765-5247)
Code Enforcement Officer: Robert Happle (email@example.com, 714- 765-4480)
Media Relations: Ruth Ruiz (firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-765-5060)Share