Township's feral cat extermination plan may be put to rest - abc27 WHTM

Township's feral cat extermination plan may be put to rest

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A child being bitten by a rabid cat prompted one township to create a plan that would euthanize all of their feral cats. Due to public outcry, that plan may soon be put to rest. 

"I don't know if we have more cats, I guess we just have one that got all 'rabied' up and spread it, and here we are," said 20-year-old Patrick Swartz from his South Newton Township backyard.   

It seems the topic of stray cat euthanization now coexists with sweet tea and heavy metal.

"Its certainly different. We don't get many big topics around here," he over a soundtrack of 'Rage Against the Machine' playing on an outdoor radio.  

A plan by South Newton Township to trap and euthanize their feral cat population has led to a Facebook page with hundreds of likes and an online petition signed by almost 9,000. 

"It's good to know that there are people that have more respect for life," said resident Vanessa Hovetter.  

All of that attention is the reason behind an update we received from the township. 

"Back when we had our initial meeting we didn't have an alternative. There was no clinic or shelter who was interested. Now there may be alternatives," solicitor Marcus McKnight said in a statement. 

Alternatives, like Hovetter's idea to run a township-sponsored rabies clinic and possibly use the money raised to fund a neuter-and-release program. 

"I have a group of volunteers in place and everybody will go out and trap and transport back and forth to the clinics," she said, "It's really a win-win situation."

As for rabies, under her idea, any sick or suffering cat would certainly be put down. She hopes the issue can also be put to rest. 

"I hate the chaos, the drama, I don't like that in my community where I live," said Hovetter. 

Others don't seem to mind it. 

"It's nice to have something going on," said Swartz. "It's a little sad that it's something about feral cats and diseases and stuff."  

The township says they are still welcoming any other ideas to help stop the spread of rabies. Another meeting on the issue will be held Tuesday, August 20 at 7 p.m. at the South Newton Fire Company. 

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