CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cats were the hot topic once again at City Council, as several speakers offered solutions to what some call Charleston's cat problem.
Council members have been debating what to do about cats for more than a month, since Councilman Cubert Smith said feral cats are overrunning his neighborhood in the hills above the East End.
City Attorney Paul Ellis is drafting a cat control ordinance that will be introduced in early September, Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis said. Like the city's dog ordinance, it may limit the number of cats a family can own, Davis said.
Chelsea Staley, marketing coordinator for the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association, said a neutering program might be a better approach.
The Trap-Neuter-Return program, in which feral cats are captured, neutered and released with an ear tag, would prevent wild cats from reproducing, Staley said. It would also keep cats out of the shelter, where they are often destroyed because the shelter receives more cats than it can adopt out.
"It's a great program," said Roger Wolfe, president of the Humane Association. "Parkersburg has had great success, and Braxton County. There's grant money available."
Staley said she wants to open a dialogue with the city.
"We suggest the city invest in the TNR program," she said. "We have a vested interest in this. We receive the cats. We have more than we can handle."
Davis said the language of the cat ordinance is still up for discussion. "It's difficult to limit the number," she said.
Once the bill is introduced, it will be referred to the Rules & Ordinances Committee for discussion, Davis said.
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.