More than two dozen Sylvania City and Township residents, both for and against feeding feral cats, attended the city‘s hearing Monday about an ordinance that proposes to fine people who feed stray animals.
The city’s safety committee gave residents a timed three minutes to express their views on how to handle concentrations of stray cats.
“It is a health issue. My wife has suffered two bouts of cancer, and it [feces] impacts the immune system. We are on the front line, as we have been cleaning out our yard,” said Vicksburg Drive resident Chuck Camarote. “If someone wants to feed the cats as they want they ought to have the responsibility to clean up after it, cause I’m kind of tired of it.”
Resident Bonnie Wheeler protested the ordinance, saying the community should address the problem by paying to neuter and relocate cats, while keeping a registry of available cats for adoption.
Last year the city spent about $1,500 for Humane Ohio to round up a group of stray cats for spaying and neutering in hopes of controlling a growing feline population in the Vicksburg Drive neighborhood. However, residents said the problem persisted because people keep feeding cats, and officials have fielded new complaints from other neighborhoods.
Although the proposed ordinance would not affect the township, its residents also felt strongly about the issue.
“If this ordinance passes, am I supposed to let those five cats starve because I can’t feed them? I will not let them starve them to death,” said township resident Robert Keeler, who has been feeding a brood of cats since they were kittens.
People in the crowd answered back “then take them inside your house.”
The committee will examine the issue further at a meeting at 8 a.m. July 1.
“I’m a cat lover, we had cats in our family, but we don’t let them run wild. We need to determine here what is best for our residents, not what is best for the cats,” Committee member Mike Brown said, which drew applause from the audience.