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Salina faces cat suit

Salina's cat law is being challenged in court by the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse as well as two town residents. The plaintiffs charge that the law is unconstitutional.

Salina's cat law is being challenged in court by the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse as well as two town residents. The plaintiffs charge that the law is unconstitutional.

— The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse and two residents of the town of Salina are suing the town on the grounds that its controversial cat law is unconstitutional.

The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court Monday, March 26, in advance of a town board meeting during which the board was scheduled to make a decision on a proposed moratorium on a provision of the law pertaining to caretakers of feral cat colonies. The moratorium has now been tabled to give town attorney Robert Ventre time to examine the suit.

“The lawsuit concerns both owned and feral cats,” Ventre said. “Since I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding that the board passed the moratorium in response to the lawsuit, I would suggest this board take no action.”

The board had intended to issue a moratorium of Chapter 70, Section 20, Paragraph C of Salina’s town code, 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. Second Ward Councilor V. James Magnarelli hoped the moratorium would allow the board and cat advocates time to rewrite the controversial law so that it would be satisfactory for all parties involved.

The tabling of the moratorium came as good news to several residents of Garden City Drive in Mattydale, who attended the meeting to speak against its adoption. Those residents live near Jude Jenkins, a feral cat rescuer who has registered as such with the town.

“I’ve had damage done to my property for years by the cats,” said Kathy Eppolito of 319 Garden City Drive. “I’ve had animals for years of my own, dogs and cats, but they were never allowed to go on other people’s property. I don’t feel I should have to put up with losing flowers... I’m sick and tired of the stench in the yard. I’m fed up with it. I hope you do not pass that moratorium.”

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