Commission Told Of City’s Cat Issue
At this week’s Wetzel County Commission meeting, several members of the community met to discuss the cat problem escalating in the area. Ken Showalter, Debbie Yoho, New Martinsville Councilwoman Holly Grandstaff, Mayor Lucille Blum, and Wetzel County Animal Shelter Director Rosy Cozart all met to discuss problems and solutions to the feline frenzy.
“People need to understand if they own a cat, it’s their responsibility,” Mayor Blum said. “We’re not able to handle the animal problem without assistance.” The crux of the problem is the county is not required to provide animal control to cats, and several efforts to employ a qualified employee to take on such control in the New Martinsville area have failed.
The problem has caused a great deal of frustration between neighbors and the community. According to city code, an owned cat must stay within the confines of its owner’s property. Beyond smelly and messy annoyances, these stray or pet cats pose a serious health risk including severe allergic reactions as well as damage to neighboring property.
Residents also lamented their frustration in trying to handle the problem appropriately, saying they’re given the runaround from various authority figures in the city, seemingly avoiding the problem. “What’s the alternative when you don’t have any authority to help the situation”,” Showalter asked.
After a long meeting, the commission said they would think about the issue and advised those present to keep looking at options and continue to attend appropriate meetings. Constant conversation and effort will hopefully lead to solutions before spring fever hits. “The obvious solution is for the city to hire an animal control employee, restore the cat house to working and housing order, and implement appropriate euthanizing,” Mayor Blum concluded. “The city needs to find the money in the budget.”
While at the meeting, Cozart presented the monthly report for the Wetzel County Animal Shelter:
Dogs: euthanized, one; adopted, four; rescued, 34; returned to owner, two; taken in, 25; approved/fostered, four; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero.
Cats: euthanized, zero; adopted, one; rescued, two; returned to owner, zero; taken in, zero; approved/fostered, zero; present impounds, zero; and present quarantines, zero.
In other matters, Adult Probation Officer John Lantz approached the commission to ask for permission to purchase a new computer to handle security software for the courthouse. The commission authorized Lantz to purchase any computer equipment necessary up to $900 for the purposes of digitally recording and burning surveillance footage in the courthouse.