In the fall of 2019 the Borough of Quakertown noticed an influx of feral cat colonies on its properties. One colony was located at the borough’s Public Works facility, and grew to over 50 cats, all with noticeable heath concerns.
With the growth in the size of this colony, the borough received an increasing number of complaints regarding the cats traveling to the shopping center across the street in search for food and had concerns for the safety of pedestrians walking adjacent to the Public Works facility.
In addition, a handful of feral cat caregivers were caught trespassing onto the facility to feed and build shelters for the cats. In July one of the Public Works employees was attacked and bitten by one of the feral cats, which lead the borough to determine that the cats at the facility were creating a hazardous working condition.
In August, the borough arranged to have a licensed professional wildlife management company trap the cats, so that they could be given medical attention and relocated. The traps used were “have-a-heart” style traps that safely confined the cats until they were collected. Once captured, the borough had a community volunteer collect the cats, have them neutered, and then adopted or released to another location.
After two days over 10 cats were captured, and the project become too much for the community volunteer to manage. Due to the escalating scale of the project, the borough arranged for the wildlife management company to oversee the cats’ capture, care, and relocation. Over the span of two weeks this company collected the trapped feral cats, had treatment provided if needed, and had them adopted or relocated.
All of the captured cats were in poor health and many had worms, open wounds, and infections. One of the cats had a life-threatening obstruction and arrangements were made for this cat to receive critical care – it was later adopted. None of the cats captured from the Quakertown Borough Public Works facility were killed or harmed.
In the process of capturing the colony and working with the wildlife management company to give the cats medical attention if needed and relocate them, the borough was contacted by feral cat activists who questioned the borough’s actions.
A Facebook page was created and then used to create a smear campaign against the borough and intentionally posted misinformation that the borough had killed this colony of feral cats. More troubling was that messages inciting people to harass members of the borough’s staff, borough council members, and the wildlife management company were posted on thes page. Some people even posted death threats. There are ongoing criminal investigations concerning the posts made to this Facebook page.
The Borough of Quakertown has begun working with state legislators to consider legislation to regulate responses to feral cat management, as well as, to regulate self-proclaimed feral cat rescuers.
The Borough of Quakertown is committed to the protection and preservation of every life and the dissemination of truthful information. If you have a feral cat issue or desire more information regarding legitimate cat rescue resources, contact your local humane society.
Scott C. McElree is borough manager and chief of police for Quakertown Borough.