Last of feral cats gone from Roeland Park house; homeowner, city councilor clash over source of animal control complaint

The male cat was removed last week from Steven Lewis's property. It returned after being gone for two months. It was injured and had lost 10 pounds.
The male cat was removed last week from Steven Lewis’s property. It returned after being gone for two months. It was injured and had lost 10 pounds.

The last of the feral cats at a home in Roeland Park are now gone, but the controversy had a dramatic flare before the Roeland Park City Council Monday.

Steven Lewis outside Roeland Park Municipal Court Friday morning.
Steven Lewis outside Roeland Park Municipal Court Friday morning.

Steven Lewis appeared at the Roeland Park City Council meeting and said Councilor Becky Fast was the person who complained to Animal Control about the cats, which led to Lewis being cited in municipal court. The judge and prosecutor should have recused themselves from the case, Lewis contended, because the council hires them.

Fast responded to Lewis that she was not the only complaint. After the meeting, she said that she did not initiate the complaint, but was among neighbors interviewed by Animal Control about the cats last summer. Animal Control cited Lewis for allowing cats to run loose in August, more than a year after he had originally trapped them. He said the prosecutor inadvertently had listed Fast’s address as the location of the citation, rather than Lewis’s, which he believes indicates the source of the complaint. He also said Fast had complained to him in person about the cats.

All of the cats in question are now gone. The last two feral cats at Lewis’s house were trapped and taken to Pets Unleashed Monday following an offer from Animal Control. Lewis said he was told the cats will go to foster homes until they can be placed permanently, which could be in a barn program. All three of the cats that Lewis trapped and had neutered and vaccinated are now at Pets Unleashed with Animal Control picking up the fees.

Lewis told the council that the judge’s ruling “voided (the) exceptions” for feral cats that had been written into the ordinance passed earlier this year. The cats were running at large in the neighborhood and reproducing before he intervened, Lewis said. He asked the council to amend the ordinance to make it clear that ear-tipped feral cats are not owned and to restore the exemptions as they were intended.

While all of the cats he had been feeding are gone, Lewis said, they are not the only cats loose in the neighborhood.

The same cat in 2014 before its disappearance and with considerably more weight.
The same cat in 2014 before its disappearance and with considerably more weight.