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Carroll Township official addresses stray cat concerns

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

If Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of an early spring comes to pass, it may mean an early start to yard work. But, for many communities it also means an increase in feline foot traffic.

Carroll Township solicitor Herman Bigi addressed the difficulty for townships in legally dealing with this common complaint at last night's regular board meeting.

Stray cats and the problems they bring – including property damage and potential diseases – have been a chronic problem for many communities across Pennsylvania and the country, according to Bigi, who cited an article in the January issue of Pennsylvania Township News.

According to humane society statistics, there are about 86.4 million cats in the country, with 12 percent (10 million or more) not spayed or neutered. An average fertile cat produces one or two litters a year, each with four to six kittens.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates there are 70 million strays in the U.S., including free-roaming and feral cats. Many shelters are filled and facing budget constraints, complicating the matter further.

Bigi explained that there is no state agency that regulates cats. Although many communities have a stray and feral cat population, not much can be done under current laws, he said.

Several Carroll Township residents have attended meetings in the past, complaining of the cat problem in the area. The supervisors recently said they have concerns as well.

Miranda Startare is a freelance writer.

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