Three Fort Wayne animal-welfare groups are extending their community cats program beyond city limits with the aid of a change in the county's animal ordinance approved Friday by Allen County commissioners.
The change couldn't come at a better time, as those organizations next week plan to use part of a new $60,000 grant to increase efforts to control the area's cat population without having to end cats' lives, said Jessica Henry, executive director of Allen County SPCA.
Previously, Henry said, the county ordinance made it illegal for a cat to leave its owner's property without being under someone's control. That meant strays could be picked up by an animal control officer with the county sheriff's department and be taken to Animal Care & Control, which handles both city and county strays.
Some of those cats might be adopted, but many were euthanized “because of sheer numbers,” Henry said.
With the change in the law, stray cats picked up by county officers now can become part of a community cat program that encourages trapping stray cats, neutering them and returning them to where they were found, she said.