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Cat fight brewing in Connellsville

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 5:39 p.m.
 

A cat fight is ready to begin in Connellsville.

Stray cats are running wild through the city streets and creating chaos in neighborhoods.

The city is currently in the process of trying to decide whether or not it needs to adopt an ordinance that would require city cats to be registered and restricted in their homes or on leashes. Dogs are also required to be leashed.

As a cat owner, mayoral candidate Greg Lincoln told the Connellsville Health Board this week that he has a problem with putting a cat on a leash.

He said Jeannette has a cat ordinance, but neighboring communities including Mt. Pleasant and Scottdale do not.

Health board member Johanna Harden said people are moving out of their homes and apartments in Connellsville and leaving their cats behind.

“I'm a cat lover, but I know there are several diseases that cats carry,” Harden said. “These stray cats are going into people's yards and gardens. There is cat feces all over the place. This is definitely a health and safety issue that needs to be addressed.” Harden said residents have told her that cats are coming onto their porches and spraying their furniture.

“They don't know what to do,” Harden said. “They can't keep these stray cats out of their yards. You are asking for trouble if you are going to let your cats run free.”

Harden said the stray cats need to be caught so they can be spayed and neutered.

“But the city doesn't have enough money to do this,” Harden said. “These cats just keep multiplying, and there isn't much we can do about it.”

Tom Curry, the city's health officer, said he investigates complaints about cats and dogs that are not kept inside their homes or on leashes.

After he receives the fourth complaint about an animal, Curry said, he imposes a $25 fine plus court costs.

“Cats need to be restricted so they can't spread diseases,” said health board member Lucy King.

Geno Gallo said he has seen more than 40 stray cats running through his neighborhood.

“We need to adopt an ordinance so that we can register these cats before this causes a real cat fight,” Harden said.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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