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Waynesboro council cracks down on feral cat feeders

April 04, 2001

Waynesboro council cracks down on feral cat feeders



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


Tender-hearted Waynesboro residents who feed stray cats that end up on their doorsteps can now be arrested, fined up to $300 or even spend 30 days in jail, according to an ordinance passed Wednesday night by the Borough Council.

The council, bowing to pressure from a handful of residents on Ridge and Fairview avenues who complained that stray cats were messing on their properties, passed the law unanimously.

The ordinance, drafted by Borough Solicitor D. Lloyd Reichard II, identifies anyone who keeps, feeds or harbors or has custody of or allows cats to reside or remain on their premises as a keeper of cats.

If such a cat strays onto a neighbor's property and does damage or otherwise becomes a public nuisance and the neighbor files a written complaint then Douglas Pyle, the borough's building inspector, can enter the cat keeper's property and conduct an investigation to determine if a cat is a public nuisance.

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A cat that is a public nuisance is defined in the ordinance as any cat that exhibits vicious behavior, digs up flower beds or does its business in sandboxes and the like.

Such a cat would be trapped alive, but only in the daytime, and taken to a humane animal shelter where it would be destroyed or adopted. When it got to that point, the person feeding the animal would be subject to the penalties in the ordinance.

Donald Dale of 434 Ridge Ave., a leader in the lobbying effort to get the ordinance adopted, told the council Wednesday that he has "been here week after week," pushing for the law.

Dale and some of his neighbors don't think the law goes far enough. They asked that all cats in the borough be licensed like dogs.

The problems with cats in the neighborhood surfaced when Margaret Coleman, who said she has lived on Fairview Avenue for 74 years, began feeding six strays that made a home under an old building on her property. Several months ago Scott Reagan and Jeanette Warner moved in next door to Coleman. Reagan said he built a shelter for the cats. Warner said she trapped four of them, had them neutered or spayed and adopted them out to new homes. A fifth cat was killed by a car.

Reagan said the sixth cat is very intelligent and has eluded the trap. "We're getting close to getting him," he said.

Warner said Coleman gave her $300 toward the vet bills and leaves a 25-pound bag of cat food for her every other week.

Cynthia Magaro of Mechanicsburg, Pa., president of the Preservation of Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS), which operates in Franklin County, arrived at the meeting after the ordinance was adopted, but was allowed to speak to the members.

She promoted the philosophy of a Washington, D.C.-based group called Alley Cat Allies which promotes the idea that feral cats should be trapped, neutered or spayed then released back to where they were trapped. "It's the most effective way," Magaro said. "If they are truly feral they will stay in their own area and eventually die off. Otherwise, if you just take them away other cats will move in in their place."

She left literature with the council members.




WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Waynesboro Borough Councilwoman Vicki Jo Huff asked Waynesboro Police chief Ray Shultz to increase his department's patrol in Memorial Park in light of recent vandalism at the children's playground.

She said the damage, about $400 worth, includes graffiti on playground equipment and a hole burned in a plastic play tunnel.

Huff blamed the vandalism on older teens.

"They should be there anyway," said Council President Richard Starliper. "It isn't designed for them."

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. today in the Borough Council Chambers to inform residents of the plans for an $800,000 makeover of the borough's public pool.

The borough has to raise $300,000 of its own money through fund-raisers to complete the renovation project.

The $800,000 is coming in a state grant.

The local money will pay for some new equipment, including a slide and some water toys.

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