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The Granite Shoals City Council approved a comprehensive update to the city’s animal control ordinance after months of development in the aftermath of its community cat fiasco in December 2023. This new ordinance might put the city on track to heal its damaged partnerships with local animal welfare organizations and could result in a new contract with the Hill Country Humane Society.

The council approved the new ordinance, contingent upon minor changes to the definition of a nuisance animal, during its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 26. 

“The updated animal control ordinance includes new provisions for community cats and demonstrates the city’s commitment to humane treatment of all animals within our community,” reads a statement sent to by interim City Manager Sarah Novo. “We are grateful for our community partners. The ordinance was crafted in partnership and with the participation of a variety of animal organizations. Together, we are working toward solutions that benefit the community and animals we serve.”

The city began reworking its animal control ordinance after a public outcry over an audio recording of city officials and representatives discussing how to kill and dispose of the city’s feral cat population. 

The Hill Country Humane Society publicly cut ties with Granite Shoals over the discussion and chose not to renew its contract with the city to take in stray animals. Past contracts with the local Humane Society have been between $20,000 and $30,000 to take in 100 animals per year. Without the contract in place, the city has been spending far more to manage its stray population.

According to Police Chief John Ortis, the city spent $7,000 to $10,000 on housing and transporting stray animals between Dec. 14 and Jan. 9 alone.

Former City Manager Peggy Smith resigned following the cat controversy and so did multiple members of the city’s Wildlife Advisory Committee, all of whom were involved in the unpopular cat management discussion.

The newly approved amendments to the animal control ordinance, which focuses heavily on how pets and stray animals are managed and perceived in Granite Shoals, were developed alongside the Hill Country Humane Society and several other local animal welfare organizations.

Interim City Manager Novo told she is optimistic the Humane Society would be amenable to renewing its contract with the city now that the ordinance had been updated.

An important feature in the updated ordinance is the codification of “community cats” and the trap-neuter-return method of managing their population.

Granite Shoals formed the Community Cat Advisory Committee in January, which is composed of volunteers dedicated to trapping stray cats and raising money to pay for neutering and vaccinating them. The committee has trapped over 40 cats to date, with another 60 scheduled for April.

2 thoughts on “Granite Shoals overhauls animal control policy

  1. “Humane treatment” of all animals in the city? Right. Except for the naturally occurring species of birds, mammals and reptiles which are absolutely decimated by the feral and “oh let’s put out nice kitty outside all night so he can play” cats, which are an invasive, non-native species. Y’all care a lot about “cute” but nothing for nature.

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