The Continuing Battle of the Salina Cat Law!

 Originally published on facebook April 12, 2011

2004 – One citizen complained about cat feces in his yard

2005 – The Town of Salina (NY) passed a “cat law” after much discussion

Cats at large are supposed to be sterilized, procedures for TNR were specified, and people who suffered actual damages from neighbors’ pets could recover damages in small claims court. There were many tools available for the Animal Control Officer, including help from “approved agencies” (the non-profit and volunteer organizations who had been working on the cat problem all along.)

2006 – A new Board is elected, and they appoint a new lawyer.

  •        Cats are treated like dogs
  •        Any cat who “annoys” a neighbor is breaking the law
  •        If a cat urinates or defecates on “other than the property of the owner” the owner can be fined $250.
  •        Cats are rounded up and executed just because they happen to be there.

2008 – Feral caretaker’s cats disappear

  •        They were trapped by the ACO and he had to pay $450 to retrieve them from the SPCA.
  •        The Board was going to re-examine the law.

2009 July – Trapping of cats at 130 Exeter is discovered but ACO lied about it.

“The cats are just going to get their shots,” when in reality they were taken to the SPCA to be euthanized at a cost to the taxpayers of $150 each. 

2009 July – A letter was sent to Supervisor Mark Nicotra.

“Cats are being trapped with no complaint against individual animals or notice to the owners.”

2009 July – Letter to animal welfare supporters

  • Town employees who have no idea regarding NYS law are telling residents that TNR is illegal.”
  • “It is a way for mean-spirited and/or misinformed people to carry out grudges against neighbors.”

2009 July – Board meeting

  •           Trapping @ $150 each is admitted
  •          We told them we had a grant to sterilize and vaccinate 125 cats in Mattydale.

We began speaking at Town Meetings, trying to educate the board about TNR.  Their answer, repeatedly, was “We are not going to change the law.”  Meanwhile, Colleen Gunnip, Board member, was told by the Animal Control Officer that she isn’t trapping domestic cats because domestic cats don’t go into traps,’ AND “All of the cats are being adopted.”  So you are adopting out feral cats??

2010 January – TNR caretaker Linda Smith is taken to trial by the Town on behalf of a chronic complainer who holds a grudge against her.

Hundreds of pictures of feces are placed into evidence with no proof of where or when the pictures were taken, that they were produced by the cat in question, or even that they were cat feces.

The complainant testified under oath that the cat in question had scratched her windshield (with what – diamond-tipped claws?) and killed her plants and trees.

The complainant also testified under oath that she attempted to scare the cat away by spraying him with a hose, but he just stood there looking at her “defiantly.”

Linda Smith was found guilty of allowing “her” two cats to defecate on the neighbor’s property and “annoy” her. She was fined $400. (On appeal, this was reduced to $200 and the judge admonished the Town lawyer that the law had better be fixed.)

2010 January – The Animal Alliance of Great Syracuse begins to meet weekly with an initial goal of combatting this law, which we consider to be inhumane and unconstitutional. Our goals have since expanded; however, we continue to fight the Battle of the Salina Cat Law.

2011 April – AAGS is now making arguments against the NINTH version of the Salina Cat Law in an attempt to bring the Town into the 21st century.

2011 April – Salina thinks this is a joke. AAGS hires a lawyer.

Since that day in 2004 when ONE taxpayer complained about cat feces in his yard, Salina taxpayers have spent nearly $150,000 having cats killed – only to have them replaced by new cats – plus lawyers’ fees of who knows how much in writing an unnecessary, nonsensical law.

Stayed tuned for the next episode of the Battle of the Salina Cat Law!

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