Simply put, the judges order only affects the degree of TNR allowed by the department of animal services. It does not affect or limit private feeding or colony maintenance at all.
One law cited at West Valley is Municipal Code 53.06.5, which prohibits feeding coyotes, skunks, opossum and raccons, the latter being the usual prey of coyotes. The intent was to stop people from attracting coyotes into inhabited areas. It is entitled, "Feeding of Non-Domesticated Mammalian Predators. Cats are not Non-Domesticated predators. Their Latin name is Catus Domesticus. They are domestic animals where housed or on the streets as strays of ferals. Feral does not equal wildlife.
However, some ACOs have been saying that if you leave feed for street cats in colonies, wildlife could eat that food as an unintended consequence, therefore you are breaking that law. This is bull. This is not the intent of that law. They are misapplying that law to scare feeders away and squelch neighbor complaints rather than explain to those neighbors that it is not illegal to feed feral cats by private citizens or rescue groups. If banning leaving food outside were enforced under this law, they would also have to ban outdoor picknicks, back yard barbeques, or feeding homeless, or eating a snadwich in a park. All could leave food for wildlife.
The other law they use is the kennel law M.C. 53.50 that says any lot, building, enclosure or premises where four or more cats are kept or maintained for any purpose, is a cat kennel, which requires a permit and business license. Ownership is defined by M.C. 53.15.2. A as: any person harboring, keeping or providing care or sustenance to a domestic animal for 30 or more consecutive days on property he/she owns/rents/ or leases.
Therefore this law does not apply to feeding ferals in alleys, on school grounds, sidewalks, bridges, etc., even if fed continuously for more than 30 days.
The rest of that law applies to people feeding on their own property for more than 30 consecutive days:
This definition does not apply to government agencies, animal rescue organizations, which have demonstrated to the department that they have implemented an ongoing spay/neuter program as well as an adoption program.
CONCLUSION: Feral cats are not owned by anyone until you feed them for 30 consecutive days on your own property. A citing officer can't prove you fed them for 30 consecutive days on your property or elsewhere. He can't. Photos of feeding cats on one day does not prove 30 days. The GM admitted they don't have the manpower to prove 30 days in a row.
Photos of cats with bowls is not proof you fed them for 30 days, again, on your own property.
Also, if you are practicing TNR you are exempt from the kennel violation. Just get vet and spay neuter bills together. Post a photo of a cat to be adopted on Craigslist to prove you are adopting them out or get a note from rescue or TNR group that you are aiding them adopting out street cats.
I am attaching a flyer sent to me from west Valley animal services. Check down the list for Municipal Code 53.15.2.
This talks about ownership. It also says if you are working with an animal rescue organization that practices TNR, that organization and you as its representative are exempt. Get a letter to that effect that you are practicing TNR as their agent at this site.
You are then home free. Otherwise, you can present a case that you are a private individual practicing TNR for ferals who you don't own. They are free roaming cats which you feed but not all the time, AND YOU ARE PRACTICING TNR.
Again, this only applies to those feeding on their own property, not elsewhere, such as an alley or bridge.
I RECENTLY RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM THE NEW HEAD OF ANIMAL SERVICES, BREDNDA BARNETTE. SHE SAYS UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT PRIVATE CITIZENS CAN FEED FERAL CATS.
From Brenda Barnette (OCTOBER 3):
I agree that citizens can feed feral cats and, to that end drafted a memo to staff that I forwarded to the attorney for reviewed before I send it out.