Changes to Salina cat code coming

Both Young and Nicotra lamented the fact that Salina's animal control officer was not involved in the drafting of the original law.

"That was certainly a problem," Nicotra said. "She's the one who needs to enforce this law, so she needs to be involved in any kind of legislation."

"That was our biggest mistake," Young said. "She didn't understand our intentions. What happened then was that if a cat wandered into your yard, and not everyone is a good neighbor, you'd call the animal control officer. Instead of calling us [one of the cat rescue organization designated in the law as an information resource], she'd pick up the cat. The next thing you know, people are paying $70 to get their own pets back."

Young said the animal control officer needs to be involved in drafting the new law.

"We need to work together so that she not only understands our goals, but her own role in all of this," she said. "That way she can educate the public on the law and how to deal with it if you are having a problem with a neighbor's cat."

Young also said the term "nuisance" needs to be better defined.

"'Nuisance' does not mean the cat's walking on your property," she said. "It means the cat is causing serious property damage or physical harm. We need to lay that out. People thought this law meant owners should control their cats like you'd control a dog, but you can't do that, and it's unreasonable to expect that."

Young said she was told the committee will likely begin work on the new law in September.

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