The Casper City Council on Tuesday gave tentative approval to updating a wholesale repeal and replacement of the city's animal care and control ordinance approved in February 2019.

The proposed ordinance for the revisions would be introduced for its first reading at the July 21 regular meeting of the council.

Last year's replacement ordinance primarily targeted "reckless animal owners" who mistreat or abuse their animals, who harbor vicious animals, who allow their animals to run "at large," and who are repeatedly convicted of violations, which are misdemeanors. The revisions largely were the result of hundreds of reports of animal bites and attacks on other animals.

Since then, animal control officers have suggested changes to the code including adding or changing the definitions of "aggressive animal," "clean," "feral cat," "proper shelter" and "vicious animal," according to a memo from City Attorney John Henley to City Manager Carter Napier in the agenda for city council's Tuesday work session.

Henley also recommended modifications to the code including prohibiting feeding of non-domesticated animals such as deer; cruelty to animals; neglect of animals, such as leaving them in cars in adverse weather; and limitations and prohibitions regarding vicious and aggressive animals.

Animal control officers have reported people feeding deer, pigeons, raccoons, feral cats and other non-domestic animals.

While some people do that because they like those animals, that causes problems when some of those animals cause property damage.

Police Chief Keith McPheeters said he understands why people may do that, and his officers exercise discretion with people who have developmental disabilities who like to feed animals.

McPheeters said feral cats don't react well to people and are determined to be unadaptable and are euthanized. The animal control division wants to reduce the euthanizations, but that's difficult when people feed the feral cats which then breed.

Henley said violating the ordinance would be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $750.

However, council member Shawn Johnson said he didn't like that. "I have a real issue with criminalizing someone feeding a cat."

The new revisions also would take care of some issues when the city passed the wholesale changes in February 2019 and submitted them to the city's Muni-Code Website, according to the agenda. Some sections of the code were left out and some numbers were transposed. If the transposed numbers can't be fixed, the council may need to make further amendments.

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