Citizens unleash pack of concerns to lone council member
Nevada Daily Mail, Missouri - Thursday, March 23, 2006
In an interview this morning, Keim said that the only cats the city is taking in are feral cats trapped live in cages and released in a sparsely populated area. Domesticated cats or kittens would be sheltered, but Keim said that's rare. Citizens group offers reward for evidence of domestic cat dumping
Herald-Tribune Nevada, Missouri - March 26, 2006
The drama continues to unfold as to allegations relating to the dumping of cats by the city of Nevada, allegedly trapping and releasing them in the Four Rivers Conservation Area, north of Nevada.
Local citizens -- among them a city dispatcher -- alleged Wednesday, during a gathering of citizens who came to council chambers to find doors locked and the previously scheduled council meeting cancelled, that the city's animal control officer, Matt Russell, has been releasing cats at that site on a regular basis.
Police Chief Christine Keim admits to releasing cats in a remote location but denies any wrongdoing, saying that only feral cats are picked up and are released in "sparsely populated areas," which she says is in accordance with the Missouri Department of Agriculture guidelines.
"They're alive when we release them," she said.
Chapter 9 of the Department of Agriculture's code of regulations on animal care facilities, states that "any live dog or cat, other than owner-relinquished or feral animals which are not known to have bitten anyone within the preceding 10 days, acquired by an animal shelter or contract kennel, shall be held for a period of not less than five business days before offering for adoption or euthanasia." The exemption of feral animals and the appropriate disposition of such animals is not further addressed in this chapter.
But a group calling themselves, "Concerned Citizens of Nevada" appear to believe that at least some of the cats that the city's animal control officer is releasing are domestic animals -- so much so that they've offered a reward for photos of domestic animals being dumped at nearby conservation areas -- offering $500 and anonymity to anyone who can produce such pictures. City decries rumors about cat disposal
Nevada Daily Mail - March 28, 2006
On Monday, the city released the following statement:
"With one week to go before the City Council election April 4th, reports are being circulated that the Nevada animal control officer is euthanizing cats, and that cats are being captured and dumped in rural Vernon County. Nevada City Manager Craig Hubler states that these reports are 'untrue' and 'malicious.'
"When Nevada residents call for assistance with wild animals at their homes, most frequently skunks, raccoons, and possums, the animal control officer traps the animal and transports them humanely to conservation areas for release back into the wild. These animals are not killed.
"On occasion Nevada residents have called for assistance with snakes, moles, and feral cats. As with all other wild animals, these animals are humanely trapped (not poisoned or snared), and returned to the wild.
"Eight different residents recently called for assistance with wild (feral) cats that were threatening their pets. In some cases the pets at risk from the feral cats were small dogs, and in come cases the homeowners were concerned about the safety of their domesticated cats.
"If a homeowner calls for assistance with a feral cat, but the animal control officer finds after trapping that the cat is injured, or is possibly domesticated, it is taken to one of the local veterinarians for treatment and shelter so it can be returned to it's owners or made available for adoption.
"For the record, Hubler said, 'I am very proud of the training, professionalism and dedication of our animal control officer, and outrageous allegations of this kind are very hurtful. This allegation is hurtful to our officer: he is a nice person who has made it his job to care about the welfare of animals. It is also hurtful to our residents who have pets and care about their welfare. They deserve better than to be terrorized and manipulated with malicious stories.'" Rural resident seeks solutions for animals in need of shelter
Nevada Daily Mail, Missouri - Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Cats and dogs are occasionally dumped in the area -- whether by its previous owner or someone else, and she wonders if some of these could be some of the "feral" cats disposed of by the city of Nevada, in a trap and release effort to control what they say are wild cats in Nevada.
Ross is skeptical that they're really what most of us would think of as wild, countering that these cats were born and raised in Nevada.
Left to fend for themselves, cats will hunt; and Ross is worried about the area's quail population and other wild game that will be hunted by these cats released in Vernon County.
"We're just getting the quail back. Now these cats are going to eat the quail," Ross said.
Ross acknowledged that it's a current and legal practice to relocate these "wild" creatures in such a manner as described by the city. Nevertheless, "There's something wrong with this picture." If it's OK to dump these animals, then she believes they should be spayed or neutered first.
"One cat can end up with hundreds of babies in just a few years. I keep getting pregnant ones dumped on me," Ross said.
"It seems to me like we need to change the law, if the law says all of this is OK," Ross said.
It's her hope that Vernon County People for Pets, an animal welfare group recently formed in Nevada, in response to the January closing of Nevada's animal shelter, will lobby for change in addition to finding ways to address animal welfare issues in the area.
Ross's passion for helping the animals led her to offer 10 acres of her property for use as an animal shelter -- possibly even providing a place for large animals that may need to be removed from owners not supplying proper care. Ross said she informally offered her land during a meeting conducted in February. No one contacted her after that meeting about the land, but she now no longer has a desire to give the land to the city, although other options, such as county use, might still be available.
At least, she said, these issues seem to be getting people involved, and the more people that are involved the more likely it is that some positive things can happen.
"I hope the people will get involved," said Ross.