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Salina's cat problem continues

Salina has a cat problem, and it's not going away any time soon.

The town of Salina, in enforcing a law on cats it passed in 2005, has been rounding up cats in response to complaints and dropping them off at the SPCA. Some are feral cats, either running free or in colonies managed by area rescuers, but others are residents' pets.

"One thing that we have to make clear -- the town is not randomly trapping cats," Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra said. "We're not setting generic traps in the hopes of catching cats. Any cats that we've trapped have been trapped in response to a complaint."

But that doesn't change the fact that people's pets are being trapped without warning.

"Even the most responsible cat owner can't do much to control where their cat goes and what it does if it goes outside," said Linda Young, who operates KittyCorner, a cat rescue in Liverpool, and a member of the committee that drafted the law. "But whenever complaints come in relating to a problem with cats in an area or on a particular property, the trapping starts. Residents are not warned ahead of time so that pets can be kept inside, nor are they told after the fact so that those whose pets are missing will know that they need to go to the SPCA to look for them. Cats are held for 10 days before either being put up for adoption or euthanized, and there is no way to know how many pets have been lost. If a pet does end up at the shelter, the owner has to pay $150 to get his pet back."

The original law, Salina Local Law 2005-3, went into effect Sept. 26, 2005. It was drafted to address the growing population of feral cats within the town.

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