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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dpc1222 2 years, 7 months ago

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states: "No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; . . . "

Given that pets are considered property in NYS, and given that the Town considers anyone feeding an animal to be its "owner," and given that the cats are adopted out or killed at CNYSPCA without the owner ever receiving "due process," how does the Town get away with this action? Are they not using taxpayers' money to pay the CNYSPCA $150 each to house and/or kill these animals which they have taken from their rightful owners in violation of their Fifth Amendment rights?

In addition, the animals generally go into the traps overnight. Are the terrified cats left in the uncovered traps, in the heat, rain, and thunderstorms we have had of late? Does this not make the Town guilty of animal abuse?

The Town has also been told by a County judge to "fix" its cat law, but it continues to resist.

The Town has been targeted with a lawsuit for this very same trampling of Constitutional rights and misappropriation of taxpayer monies in the past, yet the Town continues its egregious behavior.

As for the concerned "neighbor(s)," assuming there are more than the one who attended the Town Board meeting, might they be interested in gathering as a community to explore the options? Most citizens of this country do not endorse the killing of animals, especially family pets, for pure convenience, and we believe the residents of Thomas Avenue are no more insensitive than the country at large.



simon72 2 years, 7 months ago

Saddened the town is wasting their time on this. What really irritates me is the fact that I have seen on the town's facebook page pictures of dogs that have been caught running loose. Yet, they DO NOT bother to scan cats to see if they are microchipped and have an owner. I've seen this first hand on their page and my cat was on his death bed since the town's animal control officer didn't check him for a chip (any pet owner is offered this when you adopt from places such as the SPCA where my cat was adopted from....what an oxymoron!). So who are the animal lovers? Owners who micro chip or animal control officers who deem cats on the loose to be feral? Why is there a double standard in the Town of Salina putting lost dogs found on their fb page???? Wonder if those owners had to pay since they only had to pick up their dogs at the town office and not the shelter......something is just not right!


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