PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – In the city of Portsmouth, there are reports of neighborhoods attracting more than the average number of stray animals and pigeons.

Portsmouth Code Enforcement Officer Andy Gedeon says they believe this stems from neighbors leaving food outside. While these residents may just be trying to feed stray cats and dogs, they could be bringing some unwanted visitors in the process.

It attracts pests. You leave a bag of food out, you’re going to attract rats, rodents, and other pests.

Andy Gedeon, Portsmouth Code Enforcement Officer

Feral cats and pigeons can be seen damaging property including yards, flower beds, and several areas in local parks. Portsmouth city council will discuss this issue on Monday during their regular meeting.

Gedeon says their goal is not to completely stop people from feeding the animals but to limit how much food can be set out.

The question now is “what will happen to these animals if the city decides to pass this legislation?”

We spoke with representatives of Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets, a local animal shelter with the goal of finding safe, loving homes for adoptable pets in the area, and they say they’re doing the best they can right now. However, they are at capacity right now.

As they’re adopted out, we take as many in as we adopt out.

Chrystal Brown-Dixon, Vet Assistant/Supervisor

Vet Assistant and Supervisor with Sierra’s Haven Chrystal Brown-Dixon says there are other shelters in nearby counties as well as foster homes, but an issue they’re still seeing is a lack of spay and neuter programs, which could be contributing to the number of strays.

City officials say they want to hear from the public before they move forward. The council meeting will be open for public comments on Monday at 7 p.m.