Abilene neighborhood swarmed with cats, resident speaks out

"My main concern is the cat feces and the cat excrement around my house."

ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) - An Abilene resident said he and his neighbors are dealing with a cat overload!

Daniel Owinyo told KRBC one of his neighbors feeds them but does not own them, which just draws more cats wanting a hand-out.

He said enough is enough.

KRBC's Pheben Kassahun explains what you can do if you come across this problem.

"We're tired of it," Owinyo said. "My main concern is the cat feces and the cat excrement around my house." 

He explains one of his neighbors continues to feed cats at her doorstep, but she does not take any of them inside her home. 

"She just says, hey 'I feel sorry for them. I love them.' All I am saying is can you be as responsible with your cats as I have to be with my dogs," Owinyo said. "If they're not hers, if you feel sorry for them, please remove them from here."

The number of cats is so large he claims he has seen about 50 and it is keeping him from even sitting on his front porch.

"I'm an animal lover. I have two dogs and three parakeets. I take care of my dogs and I pickup after themselves. I don't think it's fair for me to walk out of my front yard and step in somebody's cat pile and the smell is so offensive," Owinyo said.

He said the smell is unfathomable.

"I have children that play out in my front yard. When they step in this, you'd rather be sprayed by a skunk than that smell," Owinyo said.

Another concern he has is the safety and health of his family.

"We came home one evening and we found a cat dying by our front yard, foaming from the mouth. My kids, since they love animals like myself, were trying to pick it up and see what's going on with it and we don't know because it's not our cat and we were afraid it might have some disease," Owinyo said. "We called the owner and she came and picked it up and it passed away. Later on, we called the animal control and they came the next day, but she was giving them some over-the-counter medication that she bought and she claimed that they're not hers, they're wild and they're safe. She just feels sorry for them." 

Owinyo has been living in the home with his family for the last 14 years. He said there has always been a problem. Recently, it has gotten pretty bad.

"I'm not the only one fighting the cat issue. I'm just the only one who's had enough," Owinyo said. "Everybody else just kind of grumbles in silence and I have grumbled in silence for 14 years. It's about time somebody did something about it."

Owinyo said enough is enough.

"We have trapped animals and taken to the Abilene Animal Shelter, up to the point where they have told us you cannot bring anymore," Owinyo said.

KRBC reached out to the neighbor by knocking on her door but there was no answer.

However, in her defense, chapter six in Abilene's Code of Ordinances does not specify how many pets you can own in the city of Abilene.

"The limit is what you can take care of. For some people, they can only adequately take care of only one dog. For some people, they can take care of others. You have to provide humane care; that includes at a minimum, adequate food, water and shelter," Mirenda Walden said, who is the Abilene Animal Services Director

Walden said the best and easiest thing you can do is get a trap and trap them.

"If an animal comes onto your property, whether it's a dog or a cat, or a raccoon, or any other animal that you don't want on your property, you can borrow a trap from animal services, free of charge. You just get on a list, we load them out to you , you return it to us, you return the animals that you collect to us," Walden said.

Owinyo, however, said he believes that should not be his responsibility.    

"When my dog is loose, they track it down to the point where they can't tell me where and how  my dog got out. Why should trapping somebody's cat be my responsibility?" Owinyo asked. "I have to keep my dog controlled and I have to pick up after my dog if I take it out for a walk. Why can't cat owners be held to the same standard of responsibility as dog owners?" 

He hopes that the city can make a change in the ordinance.

"Specifically, maybe pass an ordinance limiting the number of cats that you can have within the city limits," Owinyo said.

The Abilene Animal Shelter accepts animals that you have trapped Monday through Fridays at 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also pickup high-risk rabies carriers.

You can pick up a metal humane trap from the city of Abilene. The city leases them for free, after you have signed a trap agreement saying that you will return it in the condition you received it in. The agreement lasts you two weeks. One of the rules on the agreement is not holding the trapped animal for more than 24 hours in the trap. You must also take note that if you trap the animal, take note of what time you caught it because it may or may not be during the time of business that the shelter operates.

For more information, call the Abilene Animal Shelter at (325) 698-0085.

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