Moves are under way to try and address problems caused by feral cats in Pegswood.
These animals have been regularly spotted in Charles Street and Co-operative Terrace for more than a year and there is concern that their number will grow if action is not taken soon.
The issue has been discussed at a Pegswood Parish Council meeting and the authority has agreed to provide financial support to help with neutering.
One of the residents affected, who did not wish to be named, said that her garden has been messed up on many occasions by these cats as a result of a fellow resident deciding to feed them and so it is an environmental health and animal welfare matter.
Although this person has moved away, she believes the key issue is preventing them from having kittens to avoid a bigger problem in the months ahead, whether it is in the same area or a different part of the parish.
She has been advised by Cats Protection East Northumberland that vouchers are available from veterinary practices to have feral cats (those that are born in the wild and have not had direct contact with humans) neutered.
At the parish council meeting, clerk Kevin Cassie said it was important that the relevant authorities are fully aware of any trapping going on because there can be issues in telling the difference between owned cats and feral cats and owned cats are considered to be people’s property under the Theft Act.
Coun David Young said: “I’ve seen what appear to me to be feral cats in the areas mentioned on quite a few occasions and the issue will get worse if we don’t do something about it as soon as possible.”
The authority resolved to provide up to £200 for the neutering of trapped cats identified by the county council’s animal welfare officer as feral if part of the costs are met by local residents.