Wisconsin in Catfight Over Wild Felines

Allen Ruhland said he's not a cat person, yet he's had at least a dozen hanging around his house.

"At the high point I believe we had 19 cats last year," said the Wisconsin resident. "They just started coming around more and more."

These cats aren't house pets. They're free-roaming felines called "feral cats (search)" because they live in the wild. And they're at the center of a major catfight in Wisconsin.

A University of Wisconsin study suggests there are 1.4 million of these cats in Wisconsin alone and that they kill nearly 8 million birds each year.

Next month, a state-backed group called the Conservation Congress (search) will vote on a proposal to take wild cats off the protected species list to help control the feral population. That would mean people would be free to shoot and kill the animals known as feral cats that roam the wild.

But opponents of the proposal say it's the wrong way to address the problem.

"What this particular proposal is asking for is that all domesticated feral cats be classified as an unprotected species, and that means its open season for any cat that happens to be outside," said Susan Krebsbach of the group Alley Cat Allies (search).

A state advisory board will vote on the issue next month. It requires passage by the legislature to make law. If passed, Wisconsin would join Minnesota and South Dakota as states without a cat protection law.

Click on the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Jeff Goldblatt.