The End of Pgh Cat Ladies

This morning, Animal Care & Control showed up at 8 AM and grilled my wife about feral cats, groundhogs, and our household cats.

She stood her ground in the face of bullying and intimidation tactics. They claimed it is not legal to feed feral cats in the City (wrong.) They implied our groundhog burrow had somehow magically infiltrated our neighbor’s basement (wrong.) They said they could come in to see our household cat situation without a warrant (wrong.)

So we are well within our rights to feed feral cats on our property. Our two ferals are in good health with food, water, and shelter. They do wander away, but we can’t control that. Our neighbor could put up privacy fencing, plant deterrent herbs, etc, if she doesn’t want them on her property.

Our other feral colony is adjacent to lots owned by two friends who gave us permission to be there. They know that spayed/neutered well-fed cats with shelter are good neighbors.

The groundhogs. We consulted with Scrap the Trap, a wildlife group. We bought the deterrent they recommended. We assessed when the babies could leave the nest. We got our neighbors on board – we are going to simultaneously roll old tennis balls dipped in the non-toxic deterrent into the burrows and fill them in. The groundhogs will exit using the burrows at the far end of the yard and move along. Rinse, repeat.

As they say, we have receipts via text messages and email to back up this plan. We were waiting until June 30.

The City of Pittsburgh pet limit law (5) is not legal per the 1994 court ruling in Commonwealth v Creighton. The City has to show how a specific number is tied to their duty to protect the welfare and safety of residents. For one person, 2 pets might be too much to manage whereas for another, 20 is doable. The City has turned a blind eye to this court ruling for nearly 30 years.

If we are cited, we will sue. The City will lose and this will cost taxpayers money.

But I think the attempt to illegally enter our home without a warrant reflects a lack of professionalism and was really an attempt to access our fenced-in backyard.

Why send two AC&C agents to a groundhog call?

Why not help neighbor remove her groundhog and point out the foundation issues that gave it access?

My favorite is when the dude name-dropped our neighbor thus ruining her 311 anonymity. He also assured Laura that he knew everyone on our block. Why does that matter? He still doesn’t know City laws. Perhaps his connections to everyone in Manchester was supposed to put us on alert? To show us who has the power?

Earlier this month, we learned that Animal Care & Control officer James Genco has been on paid leave since April over allegations he abused a dog in his care. That’s a lot of paid leave. And a lot of perspective into the culture in that department.

A few months earlier, I asked AC&C Director Madden to help with an upcoming demolition that will dislocate dozens of homeless cats. 

AC&C has been told by PLI that we are not allowed to set live traps inside of any vacant or abandoned homes.
I won’t set live traps on the outside because my traps get stolen.

Stolen because this is Manchester? It is funny how many of my white neighbors ‘borrow’ traps from AC&C to remove pests from their gardens. I wonder why he meant by that?

Everyone knows you don’t leave traps unattended anyway. If I do work on my house, I can’t harm animals. Why is the City different? My questions are endless. The absurdity and bureacratic bs are endless.

Or is it just Manchester?

So to protect the feral cats, the groundhogs, the resident cats, and our sanity, I am taking down all cat stuff – FB pages, albums, fundraisers, etc. No more pet food drives, no more foster cat pics.

Maybe I can resume one day, but it’s not worth being bullied and intimidated by City employees. My health is fragile, my mind is fragile. My heart is heavy.

I’m also pissed off.

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