Conshohocken’s Borough Council to revise animal control ordinance

During its October 6th meeting, Conshohocken’s Borough Council discussed the proposed animal control ordinance that has generated a good deal of public discussion in recent weeks.

The proposed ordinance was to be voted on at the October 20th meeting of the borough council but will now be revised and reconsidered at a future date.

Two portions of the proposed ordinance involving feral cats and backyard chickens drew opposition from members of the public.

In regards to feral cats, this portion of the proposed ordinance was clarified. Opponents advocate for trapping, neutering, and releasing feral cats back into the community. Borough Manager Stephanie Cecco stated that the text of the proposed ordinance does not prohibit the residents from doing this.

The position of animal control officer position that would be created under the ordinance would be a part-time consultant (costing $20,000 to $25,000) who would respond to complaints and not seek out violations. If the animal control officer traps a cat, the cat will be taken to the local SPCA.

The portion of the proposed ordinance involving chickens will mostly be removed, except where it pertains to nuisances such as noise and cleaning up waste. The proposed ordinance would have limited chickens to properties with a single-family detached home and required coops and pens.

The prohibition of roosters won’t be changed, however, it was clarified that existing roosters would be grandfathered.

During public comment, there was a discussion on how feral cats would be identified when there are residents with outdoor cats. The concern was that a cat with a home could be trapped and taken to the SPCA. Chipping and collars were discussed, however, collars a couple of residents spoke against collars as they are considered unsafe and cats can remove them.

During public comment, there was also one or two advocates for passage of the proposed ordinance as currently written, plus several that had submitted letters in support. The number of feral cats around their homes was the main big concern.

More to come once the next text of the ordinance is released.