LONG BRANCH: In an effort to control feral cat populations, the city may require all felines to be licensed.
Long Branch Animal Control Director Sydney Johnson gave a presentation at the Sept. 27 Long Branch Council meeting and stated that his department's most common complaints are free roaming or feral cats. Johnson said these cats can damage neighbor's property or can cause "some other type of neighborhood health and safety nuisance." These large colonies, which can be made up of as many as 20 cats, are normally fed and given shelter by a nearby neighbor.
He said licensing may be able to help solve this problem.
"Licensing does provide a 'ticket home'," Johnson said. "If we have a license we can find out who the people are."
He said the license would give the city a level of control on the amount of cats by placing more expectations and responsibilities on the owner. The licenses would also require the cats to be vaccinated for rabies. People with an unusually large amount of cats would be asked if they would be willing to bring some of the Monmouth County SPCA or have the city do it for them.
Johnson said the towns such as Monmouth Beach and Middletown already have cat-licensing ordinances and that the city could adopt a similar ordinance.
"We're not looking at it as a revenue generator, the fee could be set at a minimum," Johnson said. "But, it would help us get a better handle on the free-roaming cats."
City Attorney James Aaron said he will work with the animal control officers and Johnson to come up with an ordinance for future consideration by the council.