City combats growing feral cat population
For years the citizens of the City of Sistersville have battled an increasing feral cat population but Mayor Dave Fox and the city council have partnered with a company to help alleviate the problem. So far, the plan is working, though there are some misconceptions.
One such rumor is that Olive Branch Animal Rescue is trapping cats in town. “Over the past few weeks we have taken in 28 kittens and four adult cats, some of which have been dropped off in crates tied to the porch,” stated Linda Henriksen. “Olive Branch is not trapping animals.”
Renay Dawson and her husband own and operate AAA Animal Control Services and over the past few weeks they have been setting traps throughout Sistersville to catch nuisance animals such as feral cats, skunks, possums, raccoons and groundhogs. Although they are contracted with the city, they do offer their services directly to residents for a small fee.
For the record, feral cats are defined as those who are not collared, live in the wild and are unapproachable. Every animal trapped is held for five days so it may be claimed.
One thing Dawson stresses is that she is not here to take people’s pets and asks anyone who owns a cat to make sure it has a collar on, as all collared animals are immediately released.
Simple as the solution sounds, Dawson has found trapping in Sistersville to be difficult in areas. People have called her names, tripped the traps and released animals back onto the streets, making her job futile at times. Still, in other areas of the city the plan has worked well. All pets accidentally trapped have been returned to their owners and other cats who found their way into the traps have found homes on farms; none have been killed.
Connie Cline of Sistersville is a fan of the plan to extricate the feral cats in town. “I think this is one of the best ideas we’ve had. I’ve talked to a few people on our hill who have traps out and it’s been working really well. I people are very friendly and they are willing to help solve this problem for us.”
But not everyone on McCoy Heights is enthusiastic about the venture. “I think there are a lot of people who are confused about what we are doing and they are afraid their pets are going to be trapped. These people are not in the business to trap a non-nuisance animal,” said Cline.
In addition to the animals AAA Animal Control is currently trapping for the city, they also handle animals such as birds, bats, snakes and mice. They no do deal with dogs or animals that are protected by the government. For more information or to signup, call 304-215-3683, 304-299-0802, or 304-643-4932.