Citizens and Commissioners React to Agenda Item on Feral Cats

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A new ordinance on the Panama City commission agenda would prohibit residents from feeding feral cats and wild animals. 

Many residents are upset at the mere suggestion of the ordinance. In Tuesday morning's meeting, the commission addressed the agenda item,
Item 7D on Tuesday's Panama City commission meeting agenda is causing quite an issue for residents. Some residents even taking to the meeting to protest with signs. The new ordinance as it reads-- would prohibit the feeding of wild cats and animals. 

"We need to re-write that ordinance," said Commissioner Ward 4, Mike Nichols. Feral cats can be seen all over Bay County

"We have probably over 2,000 feral cats that are out in the community and we've got to put a control on that," said Nichols. 
However, Commissioner Nichols and residents say feeding them isn't the issue. It's the food and trash that's left behind from feeding them and the population growth from un-neutered animals. Residents who saw the ordinance in advanced were shocked by it. 
"When I heard that they were going to make it illegal to feed them, it upset me," said Advocate for Feral Cats, Marcia Wiles. 

The commission agreed. Commissioner Nichols even crumbling up the ordinance during the meeting until it is re-written. He says the issue needs to be addressed, but in a different way. 

"Implement a Task force of Spay Bay, the people that feed the cats, maybe the county and the city as well to address the issue," said Nichols. Residents already on board to join the proposed task force. 

"I'd be happy to be a part of any type of a task force or give input wherever I can to assist," said Wiles. 
For those interested in joining or giving input on the idea of a task force, you can contact Commissioner Nichols or assistant city manager, Jared Jones, at city hall. 

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