Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Cat Problem in Avalon, PA

The Pittsburgh suburb of Avalon has a cat problem. There are too many loose and feral cats. So many that there have been numerous complaints from residents about the feral cats, as well as about pet owners who allow their cats to roam and damage property. These are wild, delinquent beasts, and something must be done about them.

But Avalon also has a people problem. Illogical people in government, that is. Avalon officials want to do something about their cat problem, and that means a borough ordinance. The problem is that the ordinance they’re discussing is one that would require all cats to have identifying microchip implants. Residents who fail to comply could face a $600 fine.

There’s nothing wrong with microchip implants. They can be very helpful in identifying your cat if it runs away. But we’re having a problem understanding how the microchip requirement will reduce the stray and feral cat problem. The people who take care of their cats would have another requirement and expense thrust upon them, and we’d still have our wild and feral cats.

We ran this by the Scott’s Spot Bureau of Animal Control, and they came up with the following plan, which would be the only way to make this microchip thing work:
  1. Give a drop-dead date on the microchip requirement.
  2. The day after the drop-dead date, schedule an old-fashioned roundup. This would entail a sweep of the entire borough of Avalon to gather up all the non-microchipped cats.
  3. Do something with the 2 cats you manage to catch. Scott’s Spot wouldn’t presume to suggest what that something might be, other than that it involve some sort of a one-way trip. Unless the beasts can immediately pay the $600 fine, of course.
Personally, I think the whole thing falls apart at step 2. Everyone knows that you can’t herd cats. And you can never find them when you're looking for them.

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