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Cat conundrum continues

It could be called a cat fight of sorts.

The Salina Town Board is enmeshed in changing its local law to cope with the problem of feral cats wandering the neighborhoods. On Oct. 12 a public hearing was continued regarding the issue, and some councilors wondered if the current draft of the proposed article goes far enough to curb the cat crisis.

But, a main concern of cat advocates at the hearing was that the board pass the newly drafted changes to the article, such as protecting the caretakers of feral cat colonies from immediate prosecution.

In January, a cat caretaker was fined $400 when members of a feral colony allegedly damaged adjacent neighbors' properties. Under the new draft, caretakers of feral cat colonies would be protected.

Both the board and cat advocates agreed on at least one main item - trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats is a big part of the solution to the feline issue.

While progress has been made, the board sees the proposed draft as incomplete. The law doesn't address the problem of what to do with feral cats that have been neutered but continue to cause damage to property.

Councilor Chris Benz said that he is all for trapping, neutering and releasing, but he continues to get complaints from one local neighborhood where the cats have undergone neutering but continue to be an issue.

"What do I tell these people that have these complaints? That's my biggest problem with the changes," Benz said. "Holding somebody accountable is what I get hollered at about all the time."

Linda Young, director of Kitty Corner, a cat-rescue organization in Liverpool, said she believes that that trapping, neutering and releasing is effective. She said she helped reduce a colony of 16 cats in Mattydale down to eight through the method.

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