MODESTO -- The Modesto City Council will consider tonight adopting an ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor for people who dump cats and dogs and other stray pets they have trapped.
The Police Department reports more incidents of residents trapping neighborhood pets and, rather than taking them to the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, driving them to remote locations and releasing them.
Police say the pets may not be able to survive on their own, and they may cause an increase in the animal population if they have not been spayed or neutered.
The proposed ordinance requires those who trap strays to do one of the following within 24 hours:
Release the animal where it was originally contained or return the animal to the owner, if the owner is known.
Report to animal control that the animal has been trapped.
Take the animal to the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency facility.
The proposed ordinance does not apply to people or organizations registered with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency as feral cat caretakers.
The ordinance came about after Stanislaus County prosecutors declined to prosecute two men who were trapping and then dumping cats.
Police Capt. Michael Harris has said state law makes it a misdemeanor to abandon an animal, but he said local prosecutors declined to file charges under that law because they concluded it applies to owners who abandon their pets.
The City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.