SHERIDAN — City council heard a presentation from Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue on a project undertaking to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return stray and feral cats in the city during a study session Monday, SCSCR program director Rachel Kristiansen said the cats are beginning to create public health issues in the city.
Kristiansen said her group estimates there are 2,307 stray cats in the city and a total of 3,855 in the county. These populations grow at an extremely fast rate because an unneutered female cat can generally have two litters of kittens a year, with about three kittens surviving in each litter. Though that population growth is altered slightly by cats dying off, at that rate the cat population would grow by 87 percent in a year.
Areas with large populations of stray and feral cats have had issues with cat feces and urine as well as dead cats and kittens being found underneath homes and trailers. Kristiansen also said the unvaccinated cats are at risk of contracting diseases like rabies, which can be dangerous for human beings, and Parvo virus, which is a highly contagious and deadly virus that could affect domestic pets.
Specifically, Kristiansen said buildings on Fifth Street near the railroad tracks, Adam Street, Heidi’s Trailer Court, West Park Mobile Home Community and Ted’s Towing and its surrounding area, are spots where the population of stray and feral cats is getting out of control.
Kristiansen said cats that appear friendly may be taken into the shelter and put up for adoption, but most of the cats are not socialized and will be neutered, vaccinated and returned to where they were trapped.
She said keeping the current cat population stable is important because when a species is suddenly removed from an environment, it creates a vacuum effect and other animals will come in to take its place, which could create unforeseen problems.
Once the cats are spayed and neutered, the population will naturally decline over time.
SCSCR is asking the city for help locating a building it can rent or have donated and contribute to the cost of more traps to expand its efforts.
• Council considered a proposed resolution to put a question on the fluoridation of city’s water supply on November’s ballot. City administrator Mark Collins also presented council with a plan to hire an accounting firm to conduct a public opinion survey of city residents about whether they think the water should continue to be fluoridated. Collins estimated conducting the survey would cost about $7,500 while putting the question on the ballot would cost about $2,000.
• Council held a special meeting ahead of the study session to make a parliamentary correction to its support for the question asking voters about the implementation of a 4 percent countywide lodging tax on the November ballot. Council had to correct the parliamentary procedure it used to adopt the resolution during its last meeting. It also approved a bid award for the North End Utilities Water Extension Project for a total of $3,776,930.