To the editor: I would like to bring attention to the number of stray cats in the community.

I am told that a few members of the community have developed a program that prevents strays from reproducing. That is great news, and I applaud the people responsible for this. However, it will take a decade or so to notice a difference. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of feral cats on the streets. It will be nearly impossible to keep up with the reproduction of these animals.

Clearly a large contributing factor to the outbreak of strays is the amount of people that feed them. A person in my neighborhood began feeding stray cats a few years ago. At first it was just one cat, then two; in just a few short weeks, there was at least 40 cats in the neighborhood. As a result, the neighborhood became a litter box. It didn’t matter if you had a fence or not. The animals were everywhere.

Several members of the neighborhood asked this person to stop, but she refused. Eventually, code enforcement got involved. Apparently, there is an ordinance that prohibits feeding feral animals. The person stopped feeding the animals for a few days. The cats began to disband.

A short time later, however, the feeding resumed. Code enforcement went back to the property. When the officer confronted the person, the neighbor said, “The cats are not strays, they are my pets.” At that point, code enforcement’s hands were tied.

Can a person own an unlimited number of cats? Why are the animals not required to be licensed? If the animals are “pets,” shouldn’t the owner of said pets be responsible for the damage and mess they cause throughout the neighborhood?

I’m a humane person. I would never suggest harming the animals. I’m sure animal safe havens are full. Many would argue against exterminating the animals. I’m sure euthanizing thousands of animals is very expensive. Where would the funding come from?

If all the members of the community stopped feeding the animals, then what? Where would they go? They wouldn’t just vanish. Who would round them up? Would they try to enter our homes? Would they become aggressive when normally they just scurry away when approached?

Some days, the stench in some of the neighborhoods is unbearable. Is our health at risk?

I want to help. How?

A concerned citizen,

Dallas Scicchitano

(Dallas is a local Boy Scout.)

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