Martinsville Police Dept. news release
The Martinsville Police Department is asking for citizens' help in identifying their cats from the feral cats which have become a major issue in the city. Each year the department receives approximately 50 to 75 citizen requests asking them to trap feral cats which are on their property.
The main concern with feral cats is that they are frequent carriers of feline A.I.D.S. and feline leukemia. Because feral cats compete for food with other wild animals such as skunks and raccoons they are more susceptible to contracting rabies which can be spread to humans. Very often citizens complain that feral cats are getting into their trash, walking on their vehicles or posing a threat to the safety of their pets. Oftentimes feral cats become a nuisance to business owners when they begin staying in vacant buildings and warehouses.
In an effort to address the growing problem, Animal Control Officer E.C. Stone captured over 400 cats during the past two years, 36 of which came from a single vacant warehouse. The Police Department is asking that all citizens who own a cat to properly identify it by placing a collar on it bearing proof of rabies vaccination. According to Virginia State Code, ownership of a cat requires that a collar bearing proof of current rabies vaccination be placed on all domestic cats 4 months of age and older.
Officer Stone also noted that according to Martinsville City Code, if a person feeds a feral cat, you are deemed to have constructive ownership of the cat and therefore are responsible for its rabies vaccination. Officer Stone encourages owners of cats to please consider having their pet spayed or neutered.