The town of Salina’s cat law once again came under fire, as residents complained that their pets were being trapped by the town’s animal control officer and taken to the CNY SPCA and, in some cases, euthanized before they could be recovered.
According to Chapter 70, sections 19 to 21 of the town code, Salina’s animal control officer has been setting traps throughout the town after receiving nuisance complaints. Those traps have captured cats — some of which are feral, or wild, cats, but some are family pets — which the ACO has then transported to the CNY SPCA. If the animals aren’t claimed within five days, the animals can be put up for adoption or euthanized. According to the residents who spoke at Monday’s meeting, neither the animal control officer, the neighbors who made the complaints nor the SPCA made any effort to locate the trapped cats’ owners.
The enforcement of the law has been criticized by residents and animal advocates alike, particularly Linda Young, a cat rescuer who worked with the town to draft the law.
“The town chose only to enforce the punitive parts of the law,” she said. “The town chose to take every single part of that law and make it as harsh and unreasonable as possible.”
In order to prevent further trapping of animals, the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse and two Salina residents sued the town in March on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional. No action has been taken on any provision of the cat law since the suit was filed.
Operation Southern Comfort, a Liverpool-based group dedicated to rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, launched a local counterpart called Operation Northern Comfort. The organization does everything from small cleanup jobs to home rebuilding in the Central New York area.