Salina When the Salina Town Board Monday night tabled its vote on a moratorium that would pause prosecution of feral cat caregivers, residents reacted.
“The overwhelming number of people [present at the public hearing], who are in favor of the moratorium, was considerable, with so much information provided to back these opinions up,” said Jan Markarian, resident and member of the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse.
Her concern, she said, was why the board would not read aloud the emails and letters received at the public hearing.
“If there are people who could legitimately not make it tonight, then at least read their comments so that [they are] public,” Markarian said. “We played by the rules of making [comments] public by coming out. Some people chose not to. We have no idea the numbers of people and what [their emails and letters] represent.”
Eleven people spoke out during the Feb. 27 public hearing. Nine were in favor of adopting a moratorium that would ease a law that fines animal advocates who care for feral cats.
This wouldn’t be the first time the town enacted a moratorium on this particular section of the law. The board did so last year, suspending enforcement of Chapter 70, Section 20, Paragraph C, which pertains to caretakers of feral cat colonies and fines to which they may be subjected if they’re found in violation of any section of the cat law.
In its entirety, Salina’s cat law — Chapter 70, Sections 19 to 21 of the town code — defines feral cat colonies, sets guidelines for the registration and care of those colonies and mandated that all adult cats that could be captured be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. The law also attempts to regulate domestic pets.
Many in attendance at Monday’s meeting took issue with this provision of the law, calling for more humane action in dealing with nuisance complaints. Currently, the town responds to resident complaints by trapping felines and sending them to the SPCA, where they will be euthanized after five days if not claimed. Some cat victims are wild, some are strays and others are family pets.