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A possible new city ordinance putting restrictions on cat owners in Neligh was a huge topic during Neligh’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 10.
Police Chief Mike Wright opened the discussion by stating that if the council would chose to take action on the matter, the process would be easy.
“We have a lot of stray cats and a lot of complaints, what it comes down to is that if you want to go forward with something, its very simple,” he said.
Neligh currently has a city ordinance on dog owners, requiring dogs to be registered and not to be running loose outside of the owner’s yard. However, Wright said that the only way cats get restricted are if complaints are filed.
“Currently it’s on a complaint basis,” Wright said.
Jim McNally spoke up and stated that currently, the city has rules for cats wearing collars.
“The policy we have is that if there isn’t a collar on your cat, it can be disposed of,” he said.
Council member Steph Wanek questioned Wright about the intended purpose of the possible ordinance.
“I can see a couple avenues for purpose...is our purpose to denote who’s cat is legitimately licensed, or is it to destroy them?” she said.
Wright said that without cats being registered with the city, he has to rely only on reports of missing pets to find out who’s animal it is, and sometimes the reports don’t come in.
“If I catch a cat, and it isn’t registered, and no one calls it in, I don’t know if it’s someone’s pet or not, and unfortunately I probably have disposed of someone’s pet, not knowing,” he said.
Wright said that he feels it’s hard for him to be a dog owner and see cat owners not having to have the same restrictions as he does.
“Me being a dog owner for 15 years, I have always looked at it like we are being strained upon, because we are required to keep our dogs in our yard, we are required to keep our dogs registered, yet cat people are free to run.”
City council member Dale Wilkinson said that he is tired of having to deal with cats having free roam and that it is time to take care of the problem.
“It’s damn annoying when you walk across your yard and you walk into your house with cat crap on your shoes because you go through about 15 hills of it out there. It’s time we do something about it,” he said.
Wanek summarized her remarks by stating that she is willing to move on with the ordinance, but only if it is reasonable.
“We want to say we are getting calls now. We are going to get a lot more calls, I am telling you. I want to be reasonable...I am willing to work on it, but I want to be reasonable,” Wanek said.
The council agreed to move the discussion over the possible cat ordinance into the future to allow time to hear input from the public.