Enhance feral animal plans

We are pleased that the Healthy Families and Communities Committee, led by Maui County Council Member Riki Hokama, is taking a hard look at feral animal management in Maui County.

In his Council’s 3 Minutes column published in The Maui News on March 14, Hokama said he realizes the council can’t mandate a one-size-fits-all management plan and that his committee may be open to managed cat colonies, for example, run by individuals or organizations that have been granted permits.

That said, he is looking to introduce legislation that bans the feeding of feral animals in public areas.

Well-intentioned residents may be unwittingly contributing to the feral animal problem by doing just that. This behavior encourages feral populations to congregate and allows parasites like toxoplasmosis in cats, and other diseases, to spread.

While there may be limited options for relocating feral animals to a suitable environment, managed cat colonies run by individuals or organizations that have been granted permits may help control the feral cat population.

Hokama’s committee is also looking into requiring cat owners to obtain licensing and limiting ownership of an excessive amount of cats.

Other feral animals, like chickens, pose a greater challenge. There are managed farm sanctuaries on Maui and this may be a model for the humane treatment of our feral animal population.

The committee’s effort to find creative solutions that protect residents and the natural environment is a step in the right direction.


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