GUEST COLUMN: Salina cat problem is caused by the town

— Here we go again. The Salina cat problem and its mismanagement by the town. This time it’s Thomas Avenue. This has been a problem area for years, but one woman saw the problem and decided to do something about it. Over the past 10 years she has trapped some 32 cats and kittens, adopting out those who were tame. The remainder have been neutered, vaccinated and returned to their territory. She could have simply ignored the problem or complained about it, as her neighbors did. But her “TNR” (trap-neuter-return, used for feral or “community” cats) program took her from 32 cats to seven. But it wasn’t good enough.

Four of this woman’s neutered, vaccinated cats were trapped by the town because the neighbors complained about cat feces on lawns. Several other cats have been trapped as well, including known pets. All of these cats are taken to the CNY SPCA. If a cat is feral or just frightened, it will be kept for five days and then killed. There is nothing else they can do. This is in a day and age that any progressive shelter refuses to even take feral cats because they know they will have to be killed. Pet cats, if the owners don’t pay $170 to get them back, will also be killed if they are frightened and are deemed to be “unadoptable.” One pet cat last year was discovered by his owner just as his time was up. Though he was microchipped, nobody checked. He was so frightened that he couldn’t be handled and he was classified as unadoptable and slated for death.

The town makes no attempt to find or contact owners. If your cat has disappeared from the Thomas Avenue area, contact the town of Salina and go to the SPCA to try to find it. But be prepared to pay $170 to redeem your pet —even though it was lured it into a trap by the town with no proof that any laws were broken. Nor will you be given any warning if there is a complaint about your cat so that you can keep the cat in or try to fix the problem. You will not get your day in court where you can defend yourself, and no proof is required. In fact, courts are not involved at all. Your pet can be seized with no due process and you have to pay. If you don’t have $170, it can be killed.

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