Tunkhannock Borough continues to wrestle with the problem of what to do about feral cats throughout the community.
The Council’s Environmental Committee had previously taken comments from residents, regarding stray cats throughout their respective neighborhoods. Some reported spaying and neutering the cats of the colony located behind the former Bricks supermarket - insisting that they are not a problem.
However, others are complaining about stray cats coming onto their property, spraying, urinating, leaving feces and otherwise causing hazards.
The question was officially put to council on Monday, which took comments from people at the front end of the meeting.
Wendy Daley said they should be holding the people accountable for their cats - not the cats themselves. If there is a problem with cats, she said, people should call the humane society.
Carol Gerzarowski, one of the supporters of the stray cat colony, asked if there is public confirmation concerning the number of feral cats spotted in certain neighborhoods.
Hildy Morgan, who also supports the stray cat colony, said that she is working with an elderly woman who is feeding four stray cats. Arrangements are being made to trap two of the strays and find homes for them, she said.
Eileen Barziloski said she has been working with Meshoppen Cat Rescue, in the hopes of trapping and neutering some of the cats in question. She noted that although plans were in place to have the job done on Monday, someone called and canceled the operation. Now they will have to wait until later to do the job.
Sarah Scranta explained that she and her family on Second Street have been having issues with stray cats.
“I’m not anti-animal,” she said.
Scranta explained she has a two-month old baby, and is concerned because of possible contact with cat urine and feces on her property.
As one example, Scranta said a feral cat on her property jumped into her van. The van was loaded with expensive merchandise, Scranta said, and she was very concerned that the cat would spray all over it.
“Who’s going to pay for those thousands of dollars of products if the cat had chosen to go to the bathroom in the back of my van,” she asked.
The Wyoming County Humane Society has advised people to trap the cats, Scranta continued. However, people cannot drop those cats off at shelters, because they are full, she said.
“We’re told there’s no room at the inn,” she said. “Calling the Humane Society is no way to solve the problem if there’s no place to take them.”
She urged the council to take action that would protect both the property owners, as well as those who maintain cats in the community.
Mayor Norm Ball reported that someone recently dumped a cat with some kittens at the end of Putnam Street. One kitten was run over by a car, he said, one stayed with the mother, while the others ran off.
Anyone seeing people dumping cats are urged to report it to the authorities, Ball continued. People can write down a license plate number and provide it to the borough police.
“This has to stop,” the mayor said. “If it’s not on Putnam Street, it’s near the school. Or other places. We need to hold these people accountable.”
During the Environmental Committee report, Chair Ben Barziloski said they had contacted Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harvey’s Lake; and Sen. Lisa Baker, R- Lehman Township, about the matter.
In her reply, Barziloski said, Boback provided several options - including passing a nuisance ordinance; as well as requiring cats to be licensed.
Council has not yet had time to study the all the suggestions, he said.
The question will again be addressed by the Environmental Committee when it meets later this month - at a time to be announced, Barziloski said. The public is invited to attend.