CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Charleston City Council committee has tabled a proposed cat ordinance, which will allow its members to continue to work on it and make changes before it goes before the full council.At a meeting Monday night, the Ordinance and Rules Committee discussed the proposal and several residents turned out to discuss it, committee chairman Jack E. Harrison said.Tabling the proposal "keeps it in the committee," he said. "That way, we can work with it. It will not be reported to the floor [Sept. 16]."Under the original proposal, cat owners would be allowed to keep up to three cats above the age of six months -- and more, with a special $25 permit -- under a cat-control ordinance introduced Monday evening at the City Council meeting.
However, cats no longer could prowl freely through city streets and backyards. Owners would have to control them outside with a leash or keep them on their own property or another person's property, with that person's consent.Violators would be fined -- $30 for a first offense and up to $250 for five or more within a two-year period. Any stray cats impounded by humane officers would have to be claimed within 10 days or be declared abandoned, according to the initial proposal.After Monday night's meeting, Harrison said two things are clear: "Number one, we have a cat problem, that's for sure, and the second thing is it's not going to be an easy solution."Harrison said residents at Monday's meeting realized that it's going to be very difficult to please everyone. For instance, some residents would not stand for euthanasia while others do not want to see cats captured, spayed or neutered and given vaccines only to be turned loose on the streets again, he said.