ANTIOCH -- After hearing a bevy of concerns centered around the treatment of feral cats and limits on the number of animals allowed, city leaders decided Tuesday night to delay approval of a new animal ordinance.
Aside from a few minor changes, Antioch's animal rules have not been updated since the early 1980s.
The proposed ordinance would preserve much of Antioch's criteria for licensing and care for animals, clarify the penalties for violations and the appeals process, and expand the list of unlawful acts.
The new rules would also set provisions for potentially dangerous and vicious animals, including remedies for attacks on private property and requirements for keeping an animal after it has been declared vicious.
But, unlike when the City Council discussed the ordinance in December, animal advocates and residents packed the council chamber this week, many holding bright pink signs that read, "We Support Humane Solutions."
Most took issue with a proposed rule that feeding feral cats on public property would be prohibited. Also, a city permit would be required to keep more than five cats on a property.
"It's a proven fact in history that bans do not work," said Rick Stirrat, president of Delta Animals Safe Haven. "What works is a City Council working with a community to come up with positive solutions."
The council decided that more time was needed to allow some of Antioch's animal groups and city staff to gather information about how much a trap and release program would cost.
Antioch is the lone city in Contra Costa County that operates its own animal shelter.
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Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.