Cats running at large in Aledo

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Citizens concerned with cats running at large approached the Aledo City Council Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, with their concerns about public health and the number of cats in their neighborhood.

The council said the city does have a leash law for both cats and dogs. “I don’t think it’s ever been addressed how many animals a person could have,” said Alderman Robert Rillie.

“If you’ve got 30-40 cats at a house, that’s a bit much,” said Marvin Smith, one of the residents affected by the felines.

Rillie said, “I don’t think we’ve ever enforced a leash law on cats.”

Alderman Rich Maynard asked about the contract the city signed with Mercer County Animal Control. The council learned that animal control does not go out and catch the animals, but would accept them, if already confined.

Aledo Police Chief Terry Dove said, “The problem is a health issue according to the neighbors.”

City Attorney Mark Walton said the animals belong to the person feeding them. “If you feed it and it’s in your yard, it’s yours.”

Alderman Rillie said that he has run across this type of problem in other municipalities where he works as the city attorney. He said the problem is finding people to testify.

Chief Dove said, “The one who is feeding the cats has agreed to move them.”

One idea the city is contemplating is updating the current nuisance ordinance to put a limit on the number of domestic animals a household can have.