Grosse Pointe Shores residents voice concerns about feral cat feeding

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 5, 2022

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Some well-meaning animal lovers in Grosse Pointe Shores are causing unintentional problems for their neighbors.

Some residents in the Webber Place and Lake Shore Road area appeared in front of the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council during a meeting Sept. 20 to express concerns over some of their neighbors apparently feeding and providing shelter for feral cats. City officials were also given a petition that Mayor Ted Kedzierski noted had been signed by an estimated 25 residents asking Shores officials to address this matter.

Kim Valice said she has seen cat shelters — which some residents referred to as “cat igloos” because of their shape — in backyards, along with cat food for wild strays that roam the area.

Valice said that, besides cats, the food is also attracting coyotes, who have become more common and less fearful of humans because they’re essentially being fed by humans.

Wildlife experts also warn that pet food left outdoors is known to attract rats.

Teresa Lucido, another resident in the area, said she’s had other problems as a result of the feeding. The feral cats — which she said likely are unvaccinated and “clearly not spayed (or neutered)” — are urinating on her outdoor furniture.

“We have to consider this a public health issue,” Lucido said.

Leaving cat food outside to care for wild cats isn’t permitted in the Shores.

“We don’t allow people to feed feral cats,” Public Safety Director Kenneth Werenski said. “We don’t allow people to feed wild animals.”

Shores officials are asking residents who see this type of activity in their neighborhood to report it to the Public Safety Department.

City Manager Stephen Poloni said Werenski got the city’s first complaint about people feeding feral cats Sept. 11. Poloni said the residents were given a warning that day, but when officers went back to revisit the property a week later and saw that the feeding was still taking place, they were issued an ordinance violation.

City Attorney Brian Renaud said the Shores’ “very broad” general nuisance ordinance is applicable in these cases. He said the city didn’t need a specific ordinance to deal with this issue.

“You have the obvious authority, the clear authority to enforce the ordinance,” Renaud said.

Renaud said the city’s nuisance ordinance gives officials “plenty of ticketing authority” to prevent this activity, especially since the feeding is “creating a health problem” by drawing rodents and coyotes.

“The issue here seems to be harboring cats, which attracts other animals,” Renaud said.

Neighbors presented city officials with photos and videos showing what was happening.

“We’ll be asking people with igloos to remove those,” Poloni said. “If we have complaints, we’ll investigate those immediately.”

Valice warned city officials that they may need to make follow-up visits to homes with the cat igloos. She said some residents who have been asked to take them down have complied in the moment, only to put them back in the yard later.