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Discussion begins on dealing with stray city cats

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

What to do about the city's growing cat population was discussed Tuesday during a public hearing at City Hall.

Elliccott District Common Council member Darius Pridgen sought to clarify his proposal to license cats. Pridgen stressed that his resolution is simply to deal with the stray cat population, not to put any limits on the number of cats per household.

"We have been having a problem with people not wanting to pick up the cats, because some agencies say they don't know who they belong too," said Pridgen.

"It is not even a discussion of limiting. My opinion on limiting has never come out," said Pridgen.

Pridgen was responding to recent calls he has received from residents in his district complaining about an increase in strays. 

Carol Tetzauer is president of Buffalo Humane.  She told lawmakers Tuesday that last season's mild winter caused a larger stray cat population. Tetzauer offered one way of dealing with the problem.

"Really the solution do to trap, neuter, vaccinate, return. It keeps the cats healthy," said Tetzauer.  "And it keeps rodent populations down.  So that's what we promote." 

But Tetzauer warned lawmakers legislation could backfire because situations change.  She pointed to communities that put rules into place have actually experienced an increased animal populations. 

Pridgen has pledged $500 of his own money to the humane organization to conduct spay or neutering for cats they trap as a short-term solution.

Council president Richard Fontana promised to create an ad hoc committee of professionals, residents and other experts to create a new policy or procedure to get the stray cats off city streets.