Council Allows Stray Cat Euthanization

SPOKANE — The Spokane City Council passed a new ordinance Monday night allowing stray cats to be euthanized by animal control without a holding period.

Stray dogs, on the other hand, must be held for three days.

Opponents of the new ordinance worry that their cats can now be euthanized before they even know their gone. The council passed the ordinance that allows Spokanimal to euthanize ferral, sick, injured or unlicensed cats immediately, as soon as they enter the shelter. Cats with micro chips or that can someway be traced to an owner will be held at least five days.

The ordinance is designed to deal with the county’s ferral cat problem. Experts estimate there are 77,000 cats roaming free in Spokane County.

The reason behind the ordinance is the shelters are crammed with unadoptable cats and they hope to make space for cats that can be adopted.

Dogs get different treatment. Dogs that are micro chipped or not, licensed or not, are held at least three days before they can be euthanized.

The local Humane Society opposes the new rules.

“We believe a stray is a stray a cat or a dog and should be afforded the same 72 hours,” Spokane Humane Society Executive Director Dave Richardson said.

“People won’t even know their cats are gone, and when they go to look for them they’ll be dead because they’ll be euthanized,” animal advocate Cheryl Mitchell said. “They won’t even have a chance to notice they’re missing and go looking for them.”

The City Council called this a cat owner problem more than a cat problem. They urged people to micro chip and license their animals, especially cats, if they want them to survive the first 72 hours at the shelter.

The humane society said only about four percent of cats picked up by animal control are returned to their owners.