Charges against Doug Edge have been dismissed.
Readers may recall Doug’s predicament, which we reported on in Man May Go to Jail for Feeding Ferals, back on July 11 of this year. He was charged with two misdemeanors, punishable by a fine and up to 90 days in jail, when his work feeding community cats and conducting TNR (Trap Neuter Release) in an effort to help with the humane management of the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area’s large number of feral cats caused him to violate North Minneapolis law. North Minneapolis, where he and his wife reside, requires that people license their cats and prevent them from roaming free. Doug was deemed the owner of the feral cats he fed and assisted, and he was cited by Animal Control in April of this year for not licensing them and for allowing them to roam freely.
A court date was scheduled for next week, on October 24, but a judge has now dropped the charges. Judge Kathleen Gearin granted a motion by Doug Edge’s attorney to dismiss the case on the point of harboring or ownership. The judge came to the reasonable conclusion that Doug’s temporary physical possession of the cats during the TNR process lay outside the city’s laws governing the keeping of domestic pets.
Doug may still have to contend with the city’s nuisance laws. Judge Gearin stated that his “good faith efforts” have increased rather than decreased the local community cat population and she said that the city has received complaints from his neighbors.
Minnesota’s largest no-kill shelter, Animal Ark, has offered to help with Doug’s legal fees from his efforts to humanely assist local cats.
Local station ABC5 KSTP covered the story. Doug has a little cat entry cut out of the fence surrounding his property, and we see a couple of cats come scampering into his yard to be fed.