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fee County considers feline fees

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Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 1:15 am

LIHUE — Lihue resident Annette Oda thinks the Kauai County Council is clawing at the wrong topic on this one.


Or more specifically, implementing fees to license felines.

The council is considering such a fee, and Oda thinks it’s an unenforceable rule that would be a waste of taxpayer money, not to mention the council’s time.

“Even the thought about licensing a cat, I mean, whoever started or initiated the bill apparently doesn’t understand the nature of a cat,” Oda said of the animals whose nature can be to disappear from their homes for days before returning. “You can’t treat a cat like a dog, so basically, I am really frustrated and disappointed that the county council would dare to spend valuable time and money, which is a scarcity in this day and age, on cats and dogs.”

More solid solutions, she said, could be forged through community dialogue.

But the county is considering treating cat owners just like dog owners by requiring them to license their animals every year.

Creating license fees is one way for the county to hold cat owners more responsible, it said. Uncontrolled feline populations can be a concern for the island’s well-being. Meanwhile, dog owners are already required to license their pets.

“If we don’t have a system to address cat and dog issues, the community will have many problems,” said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who introduced the bill last week. “Cat licensing is a way to control the population of cats, because it’s tied to neutering — an uncontrolled population of cats is a public health, environmental and community concern.”

If passed, Bill 2517 would establish an annual and biennial cat licensing fee, as well as make it illegal for any person to own an unlicensed cat over four months old.

Annual license fees, according to a draft version of the bill, would be $10 for spayed or neutered cats and $30 for unneutered or unspayed cats. Residents could also opt to purchase biennial licenses at a reduced cost.

KHS workers will attempt to return all license-wearing cats turned into the humane society by contacting the owners through written and phone notices. If the cats are not picked up within nine days, the humane society may return them to whomever brought them in, offer it for adoption or euthanize it.

Unlicensed cats will be held for at least 48 hours.

All owners retrieving a cat from the humane society would also pay an impoundment fee of $12 per day.

The proposed law would also make it illegal for an owner to allow a cat over four months old to be at-large unless it has been sterilized by a veterinarian. If an impounded cat has not been sterilized, the cat’s owner will be charged a $25 redemption fee for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $75 for additional offenses.

Cat owners, however, may have their animals sterilized by the Kauai Humane Society instead of paying a fee before it is returned to them.

Although the proposed law would require pet owners to spay or neuter cats that roam outside, KHS Executive Director Penny Cistaro said owners who only let their cats roam indoors would not be mandated to spay or neuter their animals.

The sterilization requirement in the law, she explained, is key to begin curbing the island’s feral cat population.

During the last fiscal year, Cistaro said 900 more stray cats than dogs were turned into KHS. In all, only about 10 percent of those cats, compared to 56 percent of the dogs, were retrieved from the humane society by their owners.

According to the draft bill, all fees collected by the ordinance would be appropriated to KHS for continuing the cat licensing fee program.

County Finance Director Steve Hunt said preliminary figures on how much revenue would be generated by the program has not been determined.

Kapaa resident Lonnie Sykos, who owns three cats, said he agrees with the underlying principle of the measure because it would make it easier for KHS workers to identify feral and domesticated cats either captured in the field or turned into the humane society.

“I don’t have any objections to licensing cats from the perspective that we have a huge problem with feral cats,” Sykos said. “How to balance the population of feral cats versus domestic cats is a thorny issue, but we need to come up with an objective way to deal with this and not a bunch of subjective guidelines that ultimately aren’t going to resolve the problem.”

The bill will be taken up during the council’s public meeting starting at 9 a.m.  Jan. 15 in the Historic County Building’s Council Chambers.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • ChumpChangeChuckie posted at 9:29 pm on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    ChumpChangeChuckie Posts: 113

    This law must also apply to feral cats. Technically, their owners are the county, and the county should be charged with their licensing, neutering, and control. Sure, charge private owners licensing fees for their cats, but only if you (the county) are willing to own all of the feral cats you refuse to control.

  • BKauai posted at 9:27 pm on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    BKauai Posts: 41

    This sounds like a page from the Obama playbook - target responsible owners to pay for the irresponsible. I've got two neutered / micro-chipped cats that are kept indoors. The government needs to get out of peoples lives and quit trying to pick their pockets with endless impositions.

  • Truth Be Known posted at 6:28 pm on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    Truth Be Known Posts: 99

    The end result of this unenforceable nightmare is that people who are now taking care of cats will let them go rather than pay the licenses and neutering expenses, thus increasing the number of feral cats. Bad idea Jo Ann.

  • Dumbest posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    Dumbest Posts: 101

    AND, they do keep some of the wild chickens at bay..........come to think of it, let's put a fee on the wild chickens. Now there's an idea. Just because you can doesn't mean you should, or that it is a good idea.

  • Dumbest posted at 2:50 pm on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    Dumbest Posts: 101

    Good luck, I have three and sometimes four cats come and go around here and don't own one of them.......but I sure aren't going to turn them in to be killed. Notice no rats though.

    Another minor problem being made into expensive and intrusive boondoggle. Sorry Joann I think it is unenforceable and unnecessary burden. Bad enough we tax every humanbeing and dogs ans cars and....and...and.........

  • Eagle 6 posted at 11:13 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    Eagle 6 Posts: 1423

    Get people arguing about hearding cats. This tactic of distraction from the infrastructure and traffic nightmares is getting real old.

  • numilalocal posted at 10:16 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    numilalocal Posts: 366

    If by licensing it's meant that all cats would have to have ID chips inserted, I'm all for it. But trying to get a cat to wear a collar - which can be deadly if it gets hung up on something and chokes the cat - would be somewhat impractical. Mine's neutered and stays in at night.

  • Kenlark posted at 7:49 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    Kenlark Posts: 49

    Once spayed or neutered, why should there be a fee? Vets should be allowed to provide licensing, don't make cat owners drive to the Humane Society!

  • sgoold posted at 7:23 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    sgoold Posts: 477

    It is INHUMANE not to demand licensing of cats. We need to control their population.

  • kalena posted at 6:52 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    kalena Posts: 31

    IF this goes through I fear that it will add to the abandonment and dumping off of domestic kitties in and around the established and managed feral colonies. I do not see just how this will be enforced, let alone become a feasible solution to the cat population. At this point I see it as contributing to the problem as it is proposed.

  • tunataxi posted at 6:47 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    tunataxi Posts: 749

    More Legislation ??? How about enforcing the Laws we already have.

  • paystatus posted at 4:18 am on Fri, Dec 27, 2013.

    paystatus Posts: 161

    "Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”

    this proposal makes me furr-ious and we need to scratch and claw for our rights! of course no law will ever be purrr-fect !

    lets tax all pet food instead of a license fee.......that way all pets are covered; dogs, cats, fish, horses etc... the proposed rule for cats that "only roam in the home" would be exempt from part, is just another wacky rule drummed up by out of touch folks; is the county going from house to house now ? where is the common sense around here ?

    also if folks stop buying pet food because of a new tax and feed their pets "left overs", thats even better for the environment; plus a nice size tax on cat food might slow down some of the lonely hearts that feed all of the wild cats;

    happy new year !

    david kundysek - Koloa


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