Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Modesto’s Animal Abuse Ordinance to Council on Tuesday 3/5/12


cat-yoga (Photo credit: ilexxx)

By Emerson Drake

Modesto’s Cat Killers now have reason to fear as the Modesto City Council will be voting on an update to the municipal Code.  Section 5-4-405 will be added to Article 4 of Chapter 4 of Title 5 outlawing abandonment of animals including cats.  Seems like a mouthful but it should give cat killers like Phillip Sumner and Jeff Reed second thoughts keeping from enticing pets into their yards, trapping , and then abandoning them to die a probable death of starvation.

The new ordinance will require the cats to be turned into animal services for potential recovery by their owners. Exceptions are made in the ordinance for recognized groups who capture then spay and neuter the animals.  We brought this into the glare of the public eye after hearing the heartfelt pleas of owners of missing pets taken by these animal abusers. The original story can be found at:


Many thanks go out to Former Interim Police Chief Gene Ballentine and Captain Mike Harris.  The on the Council to support an ordinace and to speak up in support was Councilman Joe Muratore followed by Mayor Garrad Marsh, Councilmen Dave Geer and John Gunderson and Dave Lopez.  City Attorney Susanna Acala Wood was very supportive and helpful from the beginning.

While this ordinance can’t reverse past issues it will help going forward and I hope those grieving pet owners who first brought this to the publics attention back on October 23,2012 will be able to attend the meeting Tuesday night at 5:30.

The ordinance is under hearing in the Council Agenda Hearing Item #5 for Tuesday.  The Ordinance reads as follows :

ORDINANCE NO. _______-C.S.




The Council of the City of Modesto does ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. AMENDMENT OF CODE. Section 5-4.405 is hereby added to

Article 4 of Chapter 4 of Title 5 of the Modesto Municipal Code to read as follows:


(a) It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense for any person who

contains any stray animal (including cats) found at large or on their

property to abandon the animal.

For the purposes of this section only the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Contains” shall mean traps, corners, confines or in some manner

restricts the animal’s freedom from continuing to roam.

(2) “Stray animal” means an animal that is running loose and at large

with no owner present, and/or an animal that is trespassing on

another’s property.

(3) “Abandons” means once the animal is contained, the person

transports the animal to a location other than where it was

originally contained and releases the animal to freely roam.

(b) Within twenty-four (24) hours after containing any such animal, the person

doing so shall do one of the following:

(1) Release the animal where it was originally contained or return the

animal to the owner, if the owner is known;

(2) Report to City of Modesto Animal Control officials the fact that

such animal is contained and include the location where the animal

is contained, a description of the animal and license number of

such animal, if any; or


(3) Transport the animal to the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency

facility and provide the date, time and location of when and where

the animal was located when surrendering the animal to facility


(c) Animal Control Officers shall pick up and dispose of such animal in the

same manner as though such animal had been found at large and


(d) This section shall not be interpreted to apply to a person or organization

registered with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency as a caretaker for

feral cats when that person is caring for feral cats.

SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance shall go into effect and be in

full force and operation from and after thirty (30) days after its final passage and adoption.

SECTION 3. PUBLICATION. At least two (2) days prior to its final adoption,

copies of this ordinance shall be posted in at least three (3) prominent and distinct locations in

the City; and a notice shall be published once in

The Modesto Bee, the official newspaper of the

City of Modesto, setting forth the title of this ordinance, the date of its introduction and the

places where this ordinance is posted.


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