Tuesday, September 20, 2016

'The case of the curious cat' remains unresolved; ordinance committee to consider issue

This story has been corrected.

The concern about lethal traps endangering pets remained unresolved at the Midway City Council meeting Monday night. At the last meeting, on Sept. 6, council members tabled the discussion after they were pressed to answer a letter from a concerned resident whose cat was killed in her neighbor’s yard by a trap set for groundhogs.

This meeting didn't make much progress on the issue either. After a 35-minute debate, council members concluded that the issue needed more public input, so they referred the mater to the council's Ordinance and Policy Committee. agreed to invite the Midway community to voice opinions on it at the next council meeting, on Oct. 10.

Sarah Gilbert was the owner of Bunny Kitty, the cat killed in a lethal trap set in a neighbor's yard back in August. Gilbert acknowledged the friendliness of neighbors and good character of Midway, but she believes that lethal traps don't belong here.

"I really don't think kill traps keep with the spirit of community that we have in this town," she told the council. It is legal to set lethal traps for animals pests in Midway, but Gilbert and her boyfriend, Stewart Surgener, reiterated her written request for an ordinance to ban them.

Members were sympathetic to the loss of Bunny Kitty, but not to the point of taking action.

"I'm not certain that we can enforce this," said Council Member Libby Warfield. Instead of banning lethal traps, Warfield suggested they urge members of the community "to take more personal responsibility" and communicate with neighbors if they resort to using such traps for animal pests.

Gilbert disagreed. "Just because you can't enforce a law all the time, doesn't mean that it still shouldn't be law," she said.

Council Member Daniel Roller Steven Craig said existing ordinances that could make banning lethal traps problematic. He posed the questions: Should pets be on a leash, and do trap owners have rights "if a neighbor's pet is on his or her property?" These questions and more will be examined by the Ordinance and Policy Committee, which Mayor Grayson Vandegrift says will also research how other cities have handled similar situations.

"We're dealing with one unheard element here," Vandegrift said. "We just need to see other ideas of how people handled this."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm new to Midway. My home was invaded by a raccoon family before we purchased and thousands of dollars in damage was done. We had problems with raccoons getting into our garbage for the first month we were here. Then a groundhog made it's way under the hood of our car and hitched a ride to the oil changer where it tried to bite the poor technician. Animal control had to chase it out. Even with all of these nuisances I would only use live traps and encourage my neighbors to do the same.