|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Canton Council urged to be more humane with cats

  • Several cat advocates implored Canton City Council on Monday to take a new approach with its animal control program. The contract for animal control services is up for renewal. The advocates urged the city to adopt the approach known as Trap-Neuter-Return.

    • email print
  • City Council heard a wave of concerns and questions Monday night regarding the animal control program and the way feral cats are handled.
    Several speakers, including those representing various organizations, urged the city to take a different approach to feral cats and to adopt a method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
    Spurring the comments was the pending legislation for the renewal of the city’s contract with Philip Sedlacko for animal control services.
    Councilman Patrick Barton, D-7, chairman of the personnel committee, said the concerns will be taken into consideration. Barton said he was uncertain whether council would vote on Sedlacko’s contract at the next meeting.
    Barton said he still believes there’s a need for an animal control officer, including for complaints about raccoons and skunks. However, he said a special council committee meeting will be scheduled to discuss the issue and various options. Those who expressed concerns Monday will be invited, he said. An effort also will be made to include other views on animal control and feral cats, he said.
    Sedlacko takes the cats to the Stark County Humane Society. Lou Criswell, the agency’s executive director, said feral and diseased cats are euthanized. If a cat is injured or sick, depending on the seriousness, the cat is treated by a veterinarian or euthanized, he said Monday afternoon.
    The cats “that are fine are going to be adopted most likely,” Criswell said.
    Last week, Sedlacko declined to comment on the issue.
    At Monday’s meeting, speakers included Toby Franks, of Canton, who promotes Trap-Neuter-Return.
    Franks read a statement from Alley Cat Allies, a Maryland-based “national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats.”
    If approved by council, the new one-year contract with Sedlacko would be for up to $27,129.
    The group said that taxpayer funds would be spent better by providing a spay and neuter program.
    Council President Allen Schulman, who has pet cats, said that other viewpoints exist, citing concerns about the quality of life of feral cats and the impact they have on birds.
    In a brochure, Alley Cat Allies said that “feral cats are just as healthy as pet cats — with equally low rates of disease” and they “have the same life spans, too.”
    McKenzie Quartz, 11, of Jackson Township, also expressed concerns about the city’s program. She volunteers with the Animal Protection Guild.
    “Why do we have to kill them?” she said. “... There are people who know how to take care of wild cat families.”