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Utah Feral Cat Bill Clears State House of Representatives

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Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Mar 4th 2011


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Cow Familyphoto 2005 Sunny Ripert | more info (via: Wylio)
People love to make fun of my home state of California. It’s true that plenty of wacky news comes out of my state, but let me say this about the Golden State: you don’t hear stories like this coming from California.

Utah’s “Feral Cat Bill” would allow ranchers, farmers, rednecks, and sociopaths to shoot animals that, in their judgment, appear feral. The bill recently cleared the state house of representatives.

[Representative Kurt] Oda said the bill is needed to allow farmers and ranchers to control feral animal populations without fear of being charged with animal cruelty.

The House agreed to add back a provision allowing the humane shooting of an animal in an unincorporated area of a county if the shooter “has a reasonable belief” the animal is feral.

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said feral animals are ever-present in rural areas. He said it’s not a matter of if they’re coming for his cows, but when.

Representative Noel, when a feral cat comes for your cows, please shoot a video. I’m having a hard time imagining a feral cat taking down a cow. I’m also having a hard time imagining a pack of feral dogs large enough to do such a thing in a developed country.

If the bill’s sponsors’ justification sounds fishy to you, then you’re not alone. Some in the statehouse think the legislation is suspect.

Before the vote, Minority Assistant Whip Brian King, D-Salt Lake, said he is concerned the bill provides a loophole for individuals who want to “satisfy their own perverse sense by killing animals for pleasure.

And the behavior of many bill supporters during the final vote lends credence Rep. King’s view.

A number of representatives could be heard meowing as they cast their votes.

Photo: Be careful! There’s feral cats in these here parts.