Laws & Ordinances

As the number of households with domestic cats and number of caretakers of outdoor cat colonies continues to rise, it’s important to know the local and state laws and ordinances governing both owned and free-roaming (owned, stray or feral) cats.

Philadelphia Community Cats Council complies with all local city, county and state animal laws and ordinances.  All cats MUST be currently vaccinated against rabies as required by Philadelphia city ordinance. PCCC also adheres to standard colony caretaking guidelines.  All cats who are TNR’d must be sterilized, vaccinated and LEFT-eartipped (no notches). Friendly cats and kittens are removed for foster/adoption.  Cats returned to managed colonies must have a dedicated caretaker who continues providing food, water, and shelter DAILY as well as medical monitoring. This is a strict requirement as cats are protected under the PA Animal Cruelty Statute. To return a cat to a colony without a caretaker constitutes Abandonment and a violation of the Statute.

************************************************************************* PHILADELPHIA COUNTY

TITLE 10. REGULATION OF INDIVIDUAL CONDUCT AND ACTIVITY §10-105. Animals Committing Nuisances §10-109. Neutering of Adopted Animals §10-114. Penalties and Sanctions

CAT FEEDING ORDINANCE  At present, there is NO Philadelphia ordinance against feeding cats, only pigeons. HOWEVER, city Ordinance 10-105 Animals Committing Nuisances can be cited.  If you are caring for a managed colony, it is in the cats’ best interest, safety and security that caretaking is done in a responsible, inconspicuous manner and not on private property or on public property without first obtaining written permission.  Most importantly, the area is kept clean and free of litter. ABOVE ALL, all cats must be neutered, vaccinated and  veterinary records kept. 

************************************************************************* PENNSYLVANIA STATE: Article IX-A of the Dog Law addresses sterilization of both dogs and cats (p 43, sec 901A). The law applies to shelters, humane organizations and “other similar entity” (i.e. rescue groups)that release a dog or cat for adoption and requires the entity to ensure that only a spayed or neutered animal is adopted out or to charge a refundable deposit upon proof of sterilization from a veterinarian. It is requires that all animals are sterilized PRIOR to adoption and that an adoption fee is obtained. This decreases the resources required for follow-up sterilization. The required deposit by law is quite low, $25, and does not create that great of an incentive to have the animal sterilized.  When sterilization prior to adoption is not possible, many rescues now require a deposit equal to the cost of sterilization, for example $100, creating a nearly 100% compliance rate in the adopted animals being sterilized.  Veterinary certification of sterilization is required for the deposit to be refunded.

Links of interest:

Alley Cat Allies – Cats and The Law

Animal Legal & Historical Center  – search for feral cats

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