It seems like a noble idea to change laws so that animal rescue
groups could provide care for a population of wild cats, but some decision makers in Athens, Georgia, say the move could cause more harm than good.
The Athens-Clarke Commission is considering legalizing a trap-neuter-release (TNR) policy and amending animal control laws so that feral cats may receive food and veterinary care from rescue groups, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.
However, a group of bird-watchers and wildlife experts say that protecting the wild cats would allow the feline population to thrive and be threatening to the areas migratory birds.
Jonathan Gray, a board member of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, told the news source, "We believe this ordinance is counter-productive and worse than doing nothing."
Opponents also fear that adopting the new laws may prompt some pet owners to ditch their cats, with the knowledge that someone would care for them.
TNR supporters say that the policy change is the most cost-effective and humane way to reduce the feral cat population.
The average cost of sterilizing a cat is $35 dollars, according to the neuter and adopting program Cat Snap.