NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio - The city of North Ridgeville hosted its first feral cat community meeting Tuesday night. The meeting comes after a local humane officer fatally shot five feral cats in June and prompted widespread controversy over animal rights.
"The worst action is no action, so if we don't do anything, the problem goes on and on and gets worse and worse and worse," said Greg Willey, committee member and director of the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County.
Willey suggested that North Ridgeville adopt its own a trap, neuter and release (TNR) program. The program calls for cats to be trapped, then spay or neutered and vaccinated, then released back to their outdoor home. TNR stabilizes the cat population.
Currently, feral cats that are trapped in North Ridgeville are transported to other cities and counties to be spay or neutered then returned to North Ridgeville.
"We need to get ahead of the game, and we need to be out there trapping," said Willey.
"We had at least a dozen feral cats born inside the garage," said Stan Boozer, a North Ridgeville resident who supports TNR and recalled a feral cat incident he had with his next door neighbor.
Boozer said he had seven feral cats on his front porch Tuesday evening just prior to the meeting.
"We have two [feral cats] in our neighborhood that keep coming up to my back door," said one North Ridgeville woman who attended Tuesday's meeting. "They want in, they want in so bad."
The city's mayor and police chief were in attendance too. The chief said while he supports TNR, it's important to think of alternative plans for residents who don't want to be involved with the program.
"One approach doesn't fit all problems," said Chief Michael Freeman of North Ridgeville Police.
But to tackle this problem, everyone at the meeting agreed that participation is key.
"If everybody would get involved in this, they would solve the whole problem," said Boozer.
North Ridgeville residents with feral cat issues are encouraged to call North Ridgeville Police at 440-327-2191 or the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County at 440-322-4321. Both agencies participate in TNR program.