By Megan Wehring
HAYS COUNTY – Hays County is working to address issues stemming from the presence of community cats.
On Nov. 22, the Hays County Commissioners Court approved an interim community cat management policy to move toward the recommendations of a feasibility study conducted by Team Shelter USA.
Assistant General Counsel Jordan Powell presented the following revisions to the draft resolution, which is provided to the court and the public in the backup agenda documents, recommended by animal advocacy advisor Sharri Boyett:
• Add ‘and may or may not possess discernible identification’ to the fifth paragraph: “Community cats shall be defined as any free-roaming cat that may or may not be socialized”
• Erase ‘ear-tipped and’ from the seventh paragraph: “In line with the ideals of the City and the Animal Shelter the County desires to exempt Community Cats that are ear-tipped and sterilized from any licensing, stray, abandonment, or at-large provisions directed toward owned animals”
• Remove ‘home’ from the final paragraph: “Hays County supports the practice of returning Community Cats to their original home locations and in furtherance of such practice, Community Cats shall be exempted from licensing, stray, abandonment, and at-large provisions”
Boyett said that she wanted the word ‘home’ to be clarified in the different sections of the policy.
“Approving this will allow us to help with the release of those cats that are in our shelter at this time,” Judge Ruben Becerra said.
Commissioner Lon Shell said that the county followed up with the Sheriff’s Office to make sure everyone is on the same page. He added that the county is still waiting for the city of San Marcos to finalize its ordinance before the ordinance revisions go back to the commissioners court for final approval.
“In the interim, I believe this policy will function the way we intended,” Shell said.