By DAVID GREEN
Complaints from neighbors on W. Congress Street led police to the discovery of about 20 cats in a home—nearly all infected with either feline leukemia or giardia, or both.
Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks told council members Monday about a situation in the 200 block of W. Congress Street that resulted in the removal of the animals.
Weeks said the city doesn’t have regulations regarding cats as it does for dogs, but he took action due to health concerns. Because the giardia parasite can be passed on to humans, he believed there was a potential health hazard to people in the neighborhood.
He cited the city’s “emergency abatement” ordinance that allowed him to take immediate action.
About 20 cats were seized and nearly all tested positive for one or both of the diseases. Only four survived.
Concern was expressed that not all of the resident’s cat were in the house at the time, so Weeks gave neighbors permission to live trap cats and then call the police department for removal and testing.
Weeks said he’s looking at potential criminal charges for animal neglect. The county health department has offered to help the cat owner if she chooses to receive it.
Weeks said giardia causes stomach cramps and loss of appetite, but it’s not life-threatening and can be cured with antibiotics.
Weeks was assisted by county animal control officers and Dr. Sherilyn Shoemaker of Morenci Veterinary Clinic. Weeks urged council members to send a note of thanks to Dr. Shoemaker.
She was under no obligation to help, he said, but as a member of the community, she felt it was her duty to assist.
“I hope people will praise her efforts and proactive role in protecting the health of the community,” he said.
CONTRACT—Council members approved a three-year contract with the DPW union, calling for a three percent wage increase each year. The pact increases employee’s co-pay for medications and requires employees to contribute more to their retirement account in order to receive the full six percent contribution from the city.
LEASE—Council voted to renew a property lease to TNG Technologies for the city-owned industrial building on Chestnut Street, behind Wakefield Park.
The company will pay $2,000 a month for a two-year lease, plus a late fee of $250 a month, if applicable. The contract includes an at-will early termination clause with a 60-day notice.
Because the company is in arrears in rent currently, the city agreed to a $7,000 promissory note that must be repaid within 12 months.
REVIEW—The Board of Review will meet at 9:30 a.m. July 23 to consider errors and omissions only.
CANDIDATE—County road commission candidate Don Isley was present at the council meeting, urging those in attendance to consider his past experience on the commission.
RIVERSIDE—The Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition was named to coordinate volunteer projects at Riverside Natural Area. David Green was named as the contact person and he will inform city superintendent Barney Vanderpool of any projects.
An Eagle Scout candidate intends to do work at the park, including construction of a picnic table.