Controlling animals on a city budget

Cats crouch under a mobile home in Quincy.

The City of Quincy faces an uphill battle is controlling its animal population.

The decision on how to handle that problem now rests in the hands of the city council.

Dr. Drew Kaiser serves on Quincy's new Animal Control Commission, which made four recommendations to the city.

They include requiring a permit to give away or sell pets within the city limits, implementing a trap, neuter and release or TNR program and charging a cat tag fee to raise money to hire a part-time animal control officer.

"There used to be two people for the city and two people for the county," Kaiser said. "Now, there's just one of each. If you have just one animal control person for a size population in the city, it's a huge responsibility. That person has to have their time off, too. They can't be on 24/7. Well, who are the people who take care of the animals after that?"

Tuesday night, the Quincy City Council agreed to accept the police chief's report on the Animal Control Commission's recommendations. That report agreed with all of the recommendations except the TNR program.

"He didn't think a trap, neuter and release program benefited the city, so he said he was against that. I support hiring a part-time animal control officer," Mayor Kyle Moore said.

Sally Westerhoff with the Quincy Humane Society chairs the Animal Control Commission. She said cats have been reproducing at a rapid rate in many areas, including Palm Gardens Mobile Home Park. She said some of the cats from this area have tested positive for feline leukemia, which doesn't pose problems for humans but is highly contagious among cats.

"That's always the thing we worry about," Dr. Kaiser said. "Once those disease processes get heavier into the population, they're going to affect more cats, more dogs within the city. So it's a problem that we do have with the numbers there. Each female is of age to have babies. Of course rabies is #1."

Mayor Kyle Moore said the city council's police committee will now review the Animal Control Commission's recommendations before they appear before the full city council for a vote.

That police committee comprises Aldermen Dave Bauer, Mike Rein and Tony Sassen.

No word on a timeline for when that committee is expected to meet to review the recommendations.