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Humane society official: Don’t feed the stray cats

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A local humane society official told Bellefontaine City Council members Tuesday night that residents need to quit feeding stray and feral cats while a campaign to capture, neuter or spay cats and then release them needs to begin countywide.

“Don’t leave food out for cats,” said Lori Plummer, director of the Humane Society Serving Logan County. “They will do just fine fending for themselves.

“We’re trying to reach out and provide education to residents regarding cats. Our message is ‘get your cats spayed or neutered, get them identification and keep them confined.’

“It’s hard, but there are products out there to help contain them.”

She’s not sure laws that apply to dogs will work for cats.

“Cats are not like dogs,” Ms. Plummer said. “As we say at the shelter, ‘cats think we’re their servants.’ ”

She said the shelter currently has 105 cats, the maximum level it can keep.

In Logan County, there are around 14,000 estimated stray and feral cats, Ms. Plummer said.

The most effective way to reduce the population is spay and neuter programs, and the society provides such services twice a month at a cost of $65 per cat.

She espoused capture and release programs in which strays and feral cats are systematically captured, undergo surgery, receive vaccinations and then are returned to the area from which they were caught.

“There is a vacuum effect when you remove cats,” she said. “They are very territorial and other cats will move in and take the place when cats are removed.”

Cats will be the focus of a 4 p.m. June 20 meeting of the council’s Rules Committee. Chairwoman Diane Hager stressed the meeting is open to the public and asked Ms. Plummer to attend.

In other council action, Mayor Adam Brannon told council members the Simon Kenton Pathfinders are just $89,000 short of the local $300,000 share to put in a bicycle path along a railroad track from north of Urbana to Bellefontaine.

The $800,000 project will start this year and wrap up a year from now.

Once complete, the path could draw bicyclists to the area and help boost tourism revenues for local businesses, he said.

He cited studies that show overnight bicyclists spend an average of $100 per day on food and lodging.

Police Chief Brandon Standley said two patrol officer candidates are in the process of passing background checks.

One has a peace officer certification and could start field training once the background work is complete, the chief said.

The other would need to attend a 12-week school at the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. The next class starts in August and the officer could be back for field training at the end of December.

Council members approved a first reading of an ordinance to rework and install a traffic signal at Main Street and Reynolds Avenue.

Finance Chairman Mark Fissel said the project was led by Logan County Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Benedetti and private industry.

“Mr. Benedetti was getting feedback from businesses that they would benefit from an improved intersection,” he told the council, “and he got the ball rolling.”

Reynolds Avenue leads to the Crossroads Business Center which is home to AcuSport Corp., which is in the midst of a $12 million expansion.

Grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Development, along with private funding will help cover the cost of the $225,000 project.

The city will supply engineering services and reuse signal equipment from decommissioned school zone lights at Western Intermediate, Northeastern Elementary and Southeastern Elementary schools.

The next council meeting is at 7:30 p.m. June 25.

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