By Mark Gerlach
A large crowd of animal activists packed into city hall on Jan. 9 to offer possible solutions to the city’s feral cat problem on Van Cleft Avenue. The city ultimately turned down a proposal from Project Cat, Inc., and is now examining a local veterinarian’s offer to provide her services to the city pro bono. Local shelters and organizations also said they’ll pitch in.
A resolution to hire Project Cat, Inc. for $2,000 was shot down. Only Councilwoman Genie Abrams voted in favor of hiring the organization. “I love cats as much as anyone,” Abrams said. “We’re not voting to kill cats.”
Project Cat is a “non-profit, environmental conscious, animal welfare organization dedicated to assisting felines in need in our local community,” its website says. The non-profit organization says its mission is to “alleviate (the) suffering of cats by providing rescue, shelter and humane care with the ultimate goal of placing them into permanent homes.”
“We adopt out cats. We take them in, fix them up and try to find good homes for them. But there are many cats for which homes cannot be found; feral ones, sickly ones, injured ones,” Gail Mihocko, Project Cat founder, said at a November workshop meeting.
Animal activists, many of which weren’t city residents, attended the meeting to provide alternatives. During public comment, speakers cited concerns with Project Cat’s alleged euthanasia policies.
Veterinarian Laura Stein of Cornwall offered her services, free of charge, to remove, neuter, treat and euthanize, if necessary, the cluster of cats on Van Cleft Avenue. “To hire a random women who is not a licensed professional to trap and kill cats with taxpayer money is appalling to me,” Stein said.
Mayor Judy Kennedy said she was unaware that Stein had offered her services at no charge prior to the meeting. “What we have to do is make sure that people, (who) also have property rights, can live in their homes without cats overrunning the place,” Kennedy said. “Until tonight, until standing right here, I did not hear that there was a vet willing to come neuter cats.”
To read the full article see the Jan., 13 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.