Feral cat ordinance proposed by Salem resident
By Karen Mahoney~Correspondent
Leon Edmark has lost income and suffered injury from the feral cats living in his Salem neighborhood.
Now he wants the Town to do something about it.
Armed with startling data that two cats are responsible for 11 million cats in just 9 years, Edmark, who spoke at the Salem Town Board meeting this month, proposed an ordinance to make property owners responsible for the breeding of feral cats in the area. He suggested that the Town requires property owners to have stray cats spayed or neutered due to the extreme overpopulation of unwanted cats.
“I have done my due diligence when I found five feral cats on my property,” said Edmark. “I called several places in the area, but they would not do anything about the cats, so I called the Safe Harbor people and they would take the cats if I brought the mother in too, because the mother is the culprit.”
The kittens were adopted within days, but Edmark was informed that the mother cat would be euthanized unless he decided to keep her.
“I paid them $40 and she was spayed, and given her shots and now I have her,” he said. “I have taken responsibility for what is on my property and I think that there should be a regulation for homeowners who allow cats to breed and multiply on their property. Stray cats also carry diseases, and I had been scratched by one and my arm became quite infected.”
Town Attorney Richard Scholze stated that there is no ordinance in the Town or surrounding communities in dealing with cats, but there are regulations for dogs.
“I understand the problem and if the man is right, and people don’t take responsibility for the cats, they become wild and hard to regulate,” he said. “The big problem is the proof of ownership.”
Board members debated the proposal, with Dennis Faber mentioning that the State declared open season on cats at one time.
“It was unpopular, he said, adding, “especially with cats.”
Town Chairperson, Diann Tesar acknowledged the toll feral cats take on wildlife in the area, as well as some individuals, such as happened to her brother.
“My brother got attacked by his neighbor’s cat, and called the cops,” she said. “He wanted compensation, but they said they didn’t do anything about cat injuries.”
While the Board was unsure if anything could be done, they welcomed ideas for proposed feline regulations. Edmark suggested trapping the animals, but the Board was concerned with liability issues if the traps were not monitored or returned.
“I would be happy to loan my brand new trap to a homeowner dealing with wild cats,” said Edmark.