OGDEN -- It wasn't exactly a cat fight, but several feline- lovers persuaded the city council Tuesday night to table a proposed animal-control ordinance amendment making it illegal to provide food and shelter to seven or more strays.
However, the council approved several other changes to the ordinance, including a provision that allows a police or animal-control officer to enter a vehicle to protect the health and safety of a distressed animal.
The amendments do not include any specific provisions for pit bulls.
A proposed dangerous-dog ordinance has been sent by the city council back to the administration for revisions that would apply to all breeds, not just pit bulls.
The amendment that received the most attention Tuesday night was a provision making it illegal to create an involuntary cattery without a license by giving food or shelter to seven or more cats at least 6 months old.
The amendment called for violators to be charged with a class B misdemeanor.
City Council Chairwoman Amy Wicks said she objected to issuing citations to people for being compassionate to stray cats.
As a result, the council removed the cattery provision from the amended animal-control ordinance and will study the issue at a future work session.
Bob Geier, the city's director of animal services, said in a memo to the city council the amendment is needed to close an enforcement gap to prevent people from providing food or shelter that encourages the proliferation of feral animals.
"From time to time, situations arise in which an individual creates colonies of feral animals at a residence, public park or other area of the city through the building of makeshift shelters and by feeding stray animals," the memo says.
"Though well-intentioned, this consolidation of animals in one area results in the rapid spread of disease through the feral colony."
Geier also told the city council Tuesday night the Carol Conroy Browning-Ogden Animal Shelter has hundreds of feral cats.
Individuals could be more helpful by adopting cats from the shelter than feeding strays, he said.
Several people who addressed the council said it should implement a trap, neuter and return program for feral cats.
The program involves trapping strays, getting them neutered, then returning them to the area where they roam and having caregivers feed them.
Ogden resident Dennis Porter told the council the city should get people to participate in the program at their own expense because it would save cats from having to be euthanized.
"Instead of punishing people, we should be out recruiting them," he said.
Diana Smith, another local resident, agreed, saying, "Don't put in laws to punish people who have compassion."
In another matter Tuesday night, the city council set a Sept. 8 public hearing for the reissuance of bonds for The Junction development. The council changed the parameters for the bonds from $32 million to $31 million.