A population of feral cats is growing in number on Lock Street in the village of Baldwinsville, so the village is calling on the CNY Cat Coalition for help.
“It’s getting [to be] summertime, the windows are open, the cats are howling, they’re on people’s cars and on their porches, and it’s become a real issue,” Village Codes Clerk Mary Augustus said about the issue at the May 17 meeting of the Baldwinsville Village Board of Trustees.
Augustus said the CNY Cat Coalition has helped the village trap stray cats in the past, so she reached out to Megan Reed, a CNYCC board member. She said the organization is open to setting traps for the cats and is willing to talk to neighbors, who she suspects are feeding the feral cats.
“A gentleman on Lock Street … has stepped forward and offered to help the Cat Coalition,” Augustus said. “The last time they set up traps for these cats, the traps were stolen. One of them was stolen in an hour and a half.”
The resident has offered to allow CNYCC to set traps on his property so he can monitor them and try to prevent thefts.
Augustus said the CNY Cat Coalition follows the “trap, neuter, release” (TNR) model in which feral cats are spayed or neutered and then re-homed at a local farm to chase pests, adopted out to a family or returned to their original locations. According to CNYCC’s website, the coalition fixed more than 2,160 cats in 2017 and adopted out 485 cats.
Since four traps were stolen the last time the CNYCC worked in the village, Augustus said Reed is asking the village to purchase new traps, which range between $22 and $45.
“I don’t think she’s expecting to have all of them replaced, but I think she’s willing to start a new escapade down on Lock Street, and she’s asked me to come in front of the board and ask you to consider help replenishing these,” Augustus said.
On the other side of the river, Augustus said, feral cats have been popping up around Hunter Drive and Cook Drive in the town of Van Buren. Residents have complained that those cats are making a mess in their yards and killing all the squirrels.
“The people in Van Buren like squirrels better than they like cats,” Augustus said.
Mayor Dick Clarke said the village would look into “what we can do legally” about supplying traps. In the meantime, he said, the village can use its website and Facebook page to encourage residents to help out.
Code Enforcement Officer Gregg Humphrey noted that stray cats can carry diseases that spread to other animals or humans.
“There’s going to be no place for them to stay. We’re going to be tearing houses down this summer [for construction], so the vacant structures they’re living in are going to be gone,” Humphrey added. “That will push them into other people’s houses or they won’t have any shelter.”
On a non-feline note, Humphrey displayed the burnt remnants of a paper sky lantern, which he found on the fire escape of the Baldwinsville Police Department.
“This landed next to a historic building, which may be unfortunate, but it could have landed on anyone’s roof,” he said. “It could have landed on a field and started a fire.”
According to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, it is illegal to fly these lanterns if they are not anchored or tethered in some way.
“These don’t ‘go away’ — they end up in someone’s yard or possibly someone’s house, and it could cause a real problem,” Humphrey said.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.
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