Cat Fight: Feeding Pets Could Cost You

BARBERTON, Ohio —  A cat fight is brewing in Barberton over a proposed ordinance that would make it a crime to feed a pet outdoors at night.

The ordinance would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to feed a pet outdoors at night, even on your own property, unless the animal is in an enclosed pen.

The proposed ordinance requires that all outdoor pet food has to be cleaned up at night.

“I give them canned food at night but they eat it up in 10 or 15 minutes,” said Janet Graff, who feels the ‘Animal Feed Nuisance Prevention’ ordinance is an attack on people like her, who feed the cats left abandoned by people when they move.

“I’m against it because these cats are spayed and neutered and they need to target the people who are dumping the animals,” Graff said.

Judy and Paul Michaels also feed a stray cat.

They feel city leaders are not being up front by trying to pass the ordinance in an emergency session Monday.

“If it hasn’t been an emergency all these years it’s not an emergency when they can’t bring it up in front of the people, but if it’s a bad law you don’t want it in front of the people,” Paul Michaels said.

Scofflaw pet feeders will get slapped with a $50 fine.

“They are going to fine you $50 per day, and if you feed a stray, by state law you own it, so now you are going to be fined for feeding an animal that you own,” Judy Michaels said.

Bill Judge, the mayor of Barberton, told Fox 8 on the phone they want to ban nighttime pet feeding for health and safety reasons.

“It attracts unwanted animals at night: raccoons, possums and skunks,” Judge said.

“We are trying to help the domesticated animals. There are safety issues if there are rats or rodents running around.”

Some disagree.

“These cats catch, they keep away the mice, the moles the rats,” Graff said.

Judge said they often hold emergency votes for ordinances, and it is not uncommon.

The Barberton City Council will vote on the ordinance at the city council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 on the second floor of the Barberton Municipal Building at 576 W. Park Ave. in Barberton.