Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Sylvania residents complain of feral cats

City had similar issue around a decade ago

More than a dozen Sylvania residents attended Monday night's city council meeting to air their complaints about a growing number of wild cats invading their yards.

Janice Pierson, a resident representing those who lived on Vicksburg Drive, Woodland Lane, and surrounding streets, asked council for help in controlling the growing feral cat population, which at current count is 18 and growing.

“We have tried to take care of the problem, talking to the neighbor that has been feeding the cats, but we have not been successful,” Ms. Pierson said.

She, and others in attendance who declined to give their names, said their efforts to reduce the growing wild cat population included calling the local humane society to take some of the cats, adopting some of them as pets, and having them neutered or spayed.

But the efforts, which cost one neighbor as much as $800, is proving to be fruitless as one individual keeps feeding the cats, Ms. Pierson said.

She said the cat population has caused some to stop gardening because yards are being used as a “litter box.”

She said at the moment there are at least 18 cats, and at least one is pregnant. In a letter she sent to council, Ms. Pierson predicted the cat population would almost triple in the next year.

Mayor Craig Stough said that about 11 years ago, the city had a similar issue, which councilman Mark Luetke was heavily involved in.

“We spent 15 months looking into the issue, spending $3,000 in a poll, and took part in a county-wide animal feasibility study,” he said. The issue was difficult to resolve through legislation. He said the problem eventually went away - possibly because an individual stopped feeding the cats.

He recommended that council look to the Lucas County’s health department, as the feces is a health concern, and could spread toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection, and other infectious diseases.

Also, he said the city could rely on the local organization Humane Ohio to embark on an Operation Felix campaign, where stray cats are captured, spayed, or neutered by volunteer veterinarians. Safety Director Kevin Aller said he contacted the humane organization, and is waiting to hear back.

Mr. Aller said that law enforcement might be able to get involved if one was in violation of the defecation portion of the law, which addresses animal feces as a nuisance. However, with cats it is difficult to track owners. Councilman Doug Haynam also suggested enforcing the leash and cat license law, which could lead to fines up to $100.

However, from what the neighbors described one individual is tending to the cats, feeding them and even naming them, but not necessarily taking total ownership of them.

Mayor Stough told the group he would review with the administration what potential actions to take, one of which would be discussing the issue with the neighbor.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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