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