Fewer resources for feline problem

Stray cats in Quincy, Ill.

Stray animals can be seen throughout the Tri-States, but the problem has become overwhelming for the City of Quincy.

The City of Quincy Animal Control Commission is trying to figure out how to address various animal issues throughout the city, including the overpopulation of cats.

"It is evident now," Sally Westerhoff, the chairman of the commission said. "Results are beginning to show that the cats re-populate so fast. So there's just a huge problem with cats pretty much everywhere in the city."

The city cut one of its animal control officers last year ... and with the cut came the elimination of cat trapping.

"I have noticed an increase in quite a few things," 6th Ward Alderman Jim Musolino said. "Cat population has been one. There has been concerns for loose dogs also."

Sally Westerhoff chairs the commission. She says cats have been reproducing at a rapid rate in many areas, including Valley View and Palm Gardens Mobile Home Parks.

"I think it's gotten exponentially worse here with the loss of the extra animal control officer," Westerhoff said.

"We need to do something to help with the cat population and with loose animals," Musolino said.

The Animal Control Commission will submit a proposal to the Quincy City Council that includes cat licensing, amending the ordinance to permit trap, neuter and release programs and creating an ordinance that would prevent the sale of animals on public property without a license.

"TNR programs nationwide have proven a lot more effective in controlling cat populations and a lot less expensive for the community than trap and kill programs," Westerhoff said.

As for a second Animal Control Officer, 6th ward alderman Jim Musolino said it is in the city's budget, but the council has yet to approve it.

"It is a two person job, and the one officer we have he's running solid all day. We've had police officers step in to help, which takes the officer off the street and that's kind of a disadvantage to the city itself."

Westerhoff says Quincy Police are in favor of a second animal control officer, and the Animal Control Commission will endorse that as part of its proposal.

The commission hopes the proposal will appear on the July 22nd council agenda.

Story by KHQA reporter Katherine Tellez.

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