City of Union Seal

Union has approved a new agreement for the handling of feral cats found in the city.

The agreement with Krakow Veterinary Clinic LLC, approved earlier in July by the board of aldermen, replaces one with the Franklin County Humane Society. City officials have said the Humane Society no longer wants to handle feral cats, unless they can be neutered and released back into the community or adopted out to farms.

The agreement with Krakow Veterinary Clinic, which does business at East Central Animal Hospital in Union, calls for the city to pay the animal hospital $85 for each cat delivered by the city. The fee will be waived when an owner is found, because the owner will be responsible for all fees.

The feral cat agreement calls for the animal hospital to do “due diligence” to determine if a cat is owned or a stray and to do what it can to find the owner if it has one. It will also seek to find the owners of cats found to be tamed or microchipped.

If the owner is unable to pay the fee or other care costs, the case will be referred to the city administrator, who will determine whether to consider payment options or waiving fees.

After a five-day hold (or 10 days for cats with a known owner), ownership of the cats goes to the animal hospital. The hospital becomes responsible for ongoing care, vaccinations, medications, adopting out or euthanizing the cats.

The hospital also is required to buy general liability insurance that also covers the city.

The agreement will automatically renew annually, though either party can terminate it with 60 days notice.

In April, the board of aldermen approved a new agreement with the Humane Society, but that only covers dogs and cats considered adoptable that are picked up and handled by the Humane Society. The Humane Society formerly covered feral cats, as well.

The April stray animal agreement with the Humane Society provides for the boarding of animals found within the city, with the city paying $10 per day for a five-day hold, plus a $35 disposition fee for each animal delivered by police or a city resident, according to city documents. Like with the agreement with the veterinary hospital, the Humane Society will do “due diligence” to determine if the animal is a stray or an owned pet.

The $35 disposition fee will provide resources for the animal to be euthanized and disposed of because of overcrowding or lack of adoptions. The Humane Society also has the discretion to apply the fee to the ongoing care of the animal in hope of adoption, with all further expenses the Humane Society’s responsibility.