Although I like where I live, there is one reason I wish I lived in Manchester, New Jersey: they have an ordinance up for final adoption that would ban the feeding of wildlife. Why does that interest me? Because I am married to someone who thinks that all possums, raccoons, and stray cats would starve if she didn’t feed them.

The problem started because she felt sorry for some stray cats in the neighborhood; we had a neighbor who never fixed his cats and they reproduced frequently. But putting food out for the cats doesn’t mean only cats will come to feed; I’ve seen raccoons, possums, and groundhogs all enjoying a snack on our deck. That doesn’t even include the squirrels helping themselves to the bird feeder. Although, I must admit, after the cats started showing up, the number of squirrels dropped pretty dramatically.

We even had animal control called on us (I’m not the one who called, but I had thought about it) and they trapped a couple of the cats, although that hardly put a dent in the population. I kept waiting for them to come back and finish the job, but they never did, at least not up to when we moved out of Jackson.

According to, Manchester’s ordinance updates an existing law that bans the feeding of feral cats except those in a managed colony.

The proposed ordinance would result in a warning for a first offense, with fines of up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Many towns have ordinances that prohibit the feeding of wildlife in public parks, but don’t cover private homes.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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