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Strasburg officials consider modified cat control ordinance

| January 25, 2024

STRASBURG (WJER) (Jan. 25, 2024) – Stray cats remain a hot topic in the village as officials try to figure out how to manage their numbers.

Objections from residents and TNR advocates caused council to table a proposal that would have made it illegal to feed feral cats and other wildlife. Solicitor Terry Seeberger re-introduced the proposed ban Wednesday evening with an exemption for cats that are trapped, neutered, and returned by the Tuscarawas County TNR Project or similar operation.

“We do have a proposed section that would be ‘management of feral cats permitted acts’ that largely tracks the Dover ordinance.”

While subject to change, the current plan would make it a misdemeanor offense for anyone other than designated caretakers to provide food or shelter to stray cats on public property or within a hundred feet of any private residence. The TNR Project helps manage the cats in Dover, New Phila, and the Twin Cities, but leaders say they won’t expand the operation into any community that criminalizes feeding.

“I understand your feelings but if you put an obstacle in my way, I’m not coming here to work,” said President and co-founder Marilyn Grafe. “I don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend, so I’m going to spend it on the cats that are going to have the best quality of life afterwards.”

Officials are trying to address recent complaints from property owners about cats spraying and causing other problems. South Wooster Avenue resident Barry Biechler says he’s tired of their messes.

“If the cat people are so fired about this, why don’t they all go together and buy or rent a building in town and have a cat shelter instead of people trying to do this at their homes?”

Council members can still request revisions to the proposal, which is scheduled for another reading at the February 6th meeting and a possible vote two weeks later.

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