COPPERAS COVE (September 4, 2013)--A growing number of stray cats in Copperas Cove has city officials making some ordinance changes to get rid of the animals, but some residents are furious that the City Council's plan includes harsh penalties.
A unanimous vote by council members Tuesday night changed a city ordinance, making it illegal to release or even feed a feral cat within the city limits.
Violators could be fined as much as $200.
Copperas Cove Mayor John Hull says the changes were a long time in coming.
"There's no easy thing to feral cats,” he said.
“You got one part of the population that wants to trap, neuter and release and another part that says let’s just get rid of the cats."
"I know it won't satisfy everybody and I don't think whatever we do would satisfy everybody,” he said.
About 20 residents were at the meeting to object to the changes.
"They believe that if they ban feeding feral and stray cats that the problem will go away and this is not true," said resident Kathy Kwieran, who’s circulating a petition in hopes of reversing the council’s decision.
"They are making citizens outlaws," she said. "It's not going to stop."
Resident Rose Brimhall says the penalties are too harsh.
"We are doing a city a favor by caring for these animals,” she said.
“We don't want to hurt the city, we want to do what's good for the city," Brimhall said.
"It's a very sad situation when we've come to this."