St. C. Cats


I am writing about the Letter to the Editor titled: St. C. Cats which appeared in The Times Leader Saturday May 17, 2014 by Norma Rodenbaugh of St. Clairsville.

I want to voice my concern as an animal caring citizen that the decision by the Saint Clairsville Memorial Park Board to not allow feeding of the cats that have lived and made the park their home for a good eleven years amounts to a reckless cruel treatment of animals.

To my knowledge the cats were cared for at the park by good intentioned people who cleaned after the cats, had a grant last year to neuter and spay and were doing everything in their good intentioned conscience to not only care for the cats but also to control the growing problem of stray cats in the area.

As someone who has cared for cats professionally and at home all my life, typically an immunized cat presents no threat to the public. I am sure there are a lot more threatening things that can go on in the park than a colony of innocent cats. We should be thankful for the altruistic voluntary acts of the people who consistently fed the cats and cared for them all these years.

I would like to know the answer to a very simple question: Who owns the Park? Is it the Park Board or the people of Saint Clairsville? Shouldn’t the people of Saint Clairsville who pay the taxes have a say in this matter? I have visited the Park many times and have always thought how gracious the people of Saint Clairsville are for having such a unique cat colony. I have on multiple occasions heard many people remark on the kindness shown to these cats. My second question to the Saint Clairsville Memorial Park Board is why now after so many years have the cats become an issue? What problems are these cats presenting to the community or the park visitors?

Cats are territorial by nature and when fed and altered will stay in their familiar surroundings. There is an important factor to consider here: Could it be a fact or a coincidence that the problem with feeding the cats may have started with the current part time employee who happened to make his views known that he did not like women nor cats?

My understanding is that most members of the board are educated legal professionals, and I am asking where is their compassion for the innocent victims in this case, the cats? What will happen to these cats that are now left to fend for themselves?

Perhaps what the Saint Clairsville Memorial Park Board needs is an opportunity to understand that animals and humans can coexist in perfect harmony without victimizing one for the other.

There is plenty of room for both at the Park.

I hope that this issue can be brought to a humane conclusion, and humane is not abandonment or starvation.

Diane K. Orum


St. C. Cats

Dear Editor,

Eleven years ago I began feeding a small group of kittens and cats in the Saint Clairsville Memorial Park.

I fed them because they were nearly starved, the little ones too small to forage, and the older two, sick and in need of care. Some of these cats are still in the Park today because of the food, veterinarian care, and attention they received from three of us throughout the following years. Today they are in an area of the Park where we have been permitted to continue feeding them by Park officials. All of their food, care, and veterinary care is paid for by those of us involved in feeding them. Sick cats, mostly those dropped off in inhumane ways in the Park, are recognized by us, and immediately taken for testing…in most cases the poor things tossed out of cars in the Park are very ill, and must be put down. Just a few tossed from cars have been saved, and one of those is my boy cat, Calvin, who was 6 years old when he was seen being thrown from a moving car. He is a quiet and healthy cat, very attentive and loving. He lives in his forever home with me.

The Saint Clairsville Memorial Park BOARD sent the three of us a letter last week informing us that we would no longer be permitted to feed the 13-15 cats in the Park, even though we have been permitted through all these years to do so. The letter said that if we were caught feeding the cats after June 30, we would be barred from all Park facilities for an indefinite period of time or permanently, and/or arrested for trespassing. The Park Board has NO CLUE how much care we take in ensuring the safety of these animals and how much devotion we have to them.

There has never been an issue with these cats; they stay in their habitat even when very large picnics are taking place. They don’t come out or bother park guests because they aren’t hungry–they are fed. When I go down to feed them and people see a cat or two there is amazement that the cats have stayed secluded in their area, down over the bank, behind hay bales.

The Park Board states the cats cannot be fed on Park property. After all these years of permitting it, they want us to let the cats go without food, or more bluntly, the Park Board doesn’t care if they starve. I truly don’t believe the cats will survive without us because of the long term commitment we have had to them for all these years. Their habitat is kept clean by us and they are all beautiful cats. About 75% of them were spayed through a grant last year so they are not a growing group. Some of them are more than 8 years old. The average age is probably 5-6 years.

Please help to keep these cats from starving after June 30 by calling the Park Board and letting them know that you care about the inhumane action they are demanding. These are innocent animals, who have been accustomed to being fed. They harm no one and they will wait faithfully for us to come until they die. It truly breaks my heart to think of it.

Norma Rodebaugh