Salina: Cats, codes cause controversy

The town of Salina board meeting of July 14 was dominated by talk of cats and codes. The town ordinance regarding cat control came under fire, as did at least one of the town's code enforcement officers.

Several residents said that the cat control ordinance is not being properly enforced.

"It is not being enforced as to its intent," said Frank Fedele of Beley Avenue. "I have trapped, treated and returned five cats in the neighborhood and my neighbors have done three. Now the town is trapping the cats and sending them to the SPCA without any due process being sent to me or my neighbors. If anyone has a complaint they should file it and the owner should then be notified. The current actions of the town are not solving the problem and it is not protecting the rights of pet owners. It costs pet owners $170 to get a cat back from the SPCA. The town should either rewrite or do away with the law."

Linda Young, who operates Kitty Corner of CNY in Liverpool, agreed.

"How the law is being enforced is not how it was intended," Young said. "I worked on the original law and I am embarrassed to say that now with the way it is being enforced." She explained that the law is intended to hold cat owners responsible for their cats if the cats cause damage.

"The owners are given a chance to correct the cat's behavior and are also held responsible for monetary damages," Young said. "It is supposed to encourage trap, neuter and return for feral cats -- as their population declines so does the problem of the cats." Young volunteered to sit on a committee of pet owners, board members, code enforcers and the animal control officer to look at the law and see if it needs to be rewritten or done away with. She said the expectations for owners were set too high regarding their ability to control their cats and those for complainants were set too low, making it much too easy to complain even if there really is no problem other than they don't like the cat.

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