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Palmerton cat law put on hold; Council to meet with advocates

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    Barbara Greenzweig, president of Palmerton Cat Project, makes a case for trap, neuter and release – a program often implemented to address stray or feral cat colonies – at Thursday’s Palmerton Borough Council meeting. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

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    Donna Crum, Carbon County humane officer, addresses the council at Thursday’s Palmerton Borough Council meeting. See a video from the meeting at DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

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    Cat advocates crowded Council chambers Thursday night to protest the cat ordinance.

Published January 11. 2019 12:44AM


The Palmerton Borough Council will temporarily cease citing residents who use outdoor feeding stations to sustain stray or feral cats in the borough.

“At the present time, there’s a case before the district magistrate (William) Kissner having to do with violation of Ordinance 728,” Councilman Kris Hoffner said. “Because of this, the borough has directed its animal control officer to cease citing residents using feeding stations.”

Hoffner said he contacted Barbara Greenzweig, president of Palmerton Cat Project, to set up a meeting between council members and cat advocates to discuss the issue of feeding stray or feral cats.

“My hopes are that we can reach a compromise that’s acceptable to both the Palmerton Cat Project, borough council, and of course most importantly, the residents of the community,” Hoffner said.

And that was just the beginning of the meeting.

The session, which lasted more than an hour, was dominated by conversation about the borough’s comprehensive animal ordinance which, among other regulations, bans the use of outdoor feeding stations.

Since its adoption in 2017, the ordinance has been hotly contested, with animal rights activists and cat caretakers saying it’s inhumane, and forces residents who do feed stray or feral cats to overlook their duty of care to the animals.

Carbon County Humane Officer Donna Crum of Palmerton was the first to speak.

“We’re not the enemies,” Crum said. “We believe there has to be rules. We want the rules enforced. We just want humane rules enforced.

“The main purpose of Ordinance 728 was to address the health and the safety and the welfare of the residents. By TNR (trap, neuter and release) — that’s actually doing a bigger job than everybody’s imagining.”

Greenzweig, who followed Crum in addressing the council, supported that point.

“My husband and I have resided within the borough of Palmerton for 35 years. In the fall of 2014, we began to address a long-standing problem of unfixed feral cats who were breeding out of control the next block up,” Greenzweig said. “We began trapping, spaying and neutering, getting the cats the rabies and distemper shots. We were paying for it out of our own pocket initially.”

In 2018, Greenzweig said, the Palmerton Cat Project trapped 52 cats, spayed, neutered and medically assessed the felines and gave them their shots. In addition to that, 39 abandoned cats and kittens were rescued by the project, medically cleared and adopted.

Sandy Buchalter was recently cited by the borough for having outdoor feeding stations. She spoke out Thursday night against the ordinance.

Buchalter said she never even received so much as a traffic ticket.

When she opened the summons, she said she found out that she was being fined $123.25 for feeding two feral tomcats that she trapped, neutered and released, but who stuck around. She said she’s been feeding the cats for years and that she wasn’t even aware of the ordinance’s existence.

“Technically, I’m guilty of your violation, but I don’t feel that I am guilty. I’m proud of what I did. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,” she said.

Susie Yaich, president and co-founder of Carbon County Friends of Animals, and Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering, also spoke, making cases for TNR and its potential as a solution to Palmerton’s cat problem.

In defense of the borough’s ordinance, Councilman William Gallagher voiced his own concern about allowing feeding stations, saying that while Thursday’s meeting was full of cat advocates, he’s also been approached by people who don’t want the borough to allow the feeding of feral cats.

“Palmerton’s known as a nice place to live,” Gallagher said. “I believe that allowing feeding stations for feral animals will not be beneficial to the community, contrary to public acceptance, and not in the best interest of the citizens of Palmerton.”

Councilwoman Holly Sell was also hesitant to simply write off the borough’s ban on feeding feral or stray cats.

“I’m hoping to continue the conversation, but that conversation needs to include who’s going to be liable,” Sell said after the meeting.

While no definitive solution was presented during Thursday’s meeting, a promise was made: the borough council, cat advocacy groups and residents will meet to look into finding a means of dealing with Palmerton’s stray or feral cats that works for everyone.

Crum emphasized that she is hoping that every council member would consider revisiting the ordinance.

“I’ll look you in the face and tell you that there is nothing in this town that we can’t fix,” was Palmerton Borough Council President Terry Costenbader’s response.



The article states that the woman who was fined used a sensible approach - trap, neuter, release. But these cats hung around. What is wrong with feeding them?
Nothing wrong with that. She's doing what she can under the circumstances. Considering CCFOA never takes strays due to "overcrowding""underfunding"etc (unless of course you make a cash donation with the stray) She did the right thing by getting them fixed so no more breeding is happening. I applaud her for her efforts.
You bunch of idiots. By feeding these stray cats will bring other wild animals into the town. These cats and any wild or feral animals are destructive to property also bring diseases including rabies. Do you want your children or grandchildren getting bit or scratched and made rabies from these infested animals what a bunch of losers. All you need is a 22 round using a non lead bullet which is about $.35 a shot. Load up guys get the borough to get a grant from the AZR co for the bullets.
If the cats are given a rabies vaccine they are not a threat. I live right in the heart of Palmerton and my home has security cameras. We see all sorts of critters walking up the street and through back yards. I counted at least 4 different skunks in one night. I see the same cat regularly and a few other ones on occasion. They don't destroy anything, they just walk through. If they are neutered they can't reproduce. So if they are trapped , neutered, vaccinated and released, how are they a threat to your chdren and grand children.
Are you going to trap them every year for a rabies vaccine?? Any other vaccines and boosters they will need when they are due?? If not then it’s pointless and then the cats are a health hazard.
You stupid twit do you know when these cats where last given their shots. You are truly stupid and don't blame it on the lead.
Maybe you don't care if you are working in your garden and find cat crap in it how about in your kids sand box you moron.
Congratulations, Tamgrad!!!
Your comments win the Carbon County
MORON award... treasure it always.
By the way, killing ANY Cat with a .22 ( or in ANY way) is now a criminal offense.
Your butt in jail, just for being stupid.
ahhh...cut him a break, he's just proud that after 40 years he finally graduated, even if it was in his grandkids class this year (they're just happy that 3 toothed grandpappy ain't walkin' 'em to school anymore because he's in the same grade). And that he's a product of his family tree being a stump
RiverTuber you have the right name your old man should have worn a "TUBER" then we wouldn't have to read stupid comments like yours. I heard a person tell another time you must be the reason why they legalized abortions.
I shouldn't even waste my time responding...but I guess that you are a little butt hurt hearing the truth from my comments. You are a dumb inbred that only thinks that a solution is by shooting something. Go back to banging your sis, as I am surprised that you can actually read. Big words seem confusing? blame your granddaddy for diddling his daughter and making you. Trash? why yes you are. Dumb as rocks...thats you....inbred...well...look in the mirror and see the true definition of "keeping it in the family" Sorry bud, my family tree has branches, unlike yours. You can promote your "Good Enough Diploma" but everyone on this site knows that you eat crayons for breakfast, drink a coors light and bang your sis for lunch, and finally cry tears of stupidity (while your daddy tells you its ok to touch him in his special place) for dinner.
Not if the cat is acting in an aggressive manner you twit. How do you know if the stray animal has been given its recommended shots another twit and don't blame it on the lead.
Who said i killed any cat i just don't put food out for any wild or feral animal you ding dong. I also told all my neighbors to keep their animals out of my yard or they just might not make it to the property line. BANG BANG? maybe.
I keep hearing about the cats, what about rabbits, squirrels and other small animals that are in danger because of the feral cats?!?!? The only smart way to handle this problem is safely trapping and euthanize the cats. There are to many feral cats for trapping and fixing them to even make a difference.
Maybe people should look at this information and make a decision on what’s best for the ecosystem.

The council should have had their solicitor make sure the ordinance could pass the mustard if he didnt then he is wasting the taxpayers money and be fired.
The solicitor retired. Position pays nothing. No one in this area is qualified r willing to do it. Ironically I actually do this line of work. I saw posting and it pays like $15/hr for a job that should be in $50-$60K range per year. Good luck finding someone
Get some help with your issues.
It's "pass MUSTER"..if you had served our Country, you'd know what Muster is.
Now shoo.
Go shoot at birdies with your BB gun.
Don't shoot your eye out.
Well maybe the right word wasn't used but you understood you numb skull. Why don't you go and get bite by theses wild animals see if you get rabies. Another dummy trying to blame your idiocy on the lead from the community area. DUH. Before you say anyone didn't serve our country you should keep you crap mouth closed. Bang Bang HAHAHA
Did ya serve, Tamgrad?
I'm surprised if you did.
We stopped taking lo- IQ candidates long after I left.
I'll bet you spent a lot of time driving your "heavy equipment" all over Brokeback Mountain.
You seem up on this Brokeback Mountain thing so when was the last time you got broke. LOL. I am not into that.
Also when did you serve or are you just a BLOW HARD. HaHa Short arm guy.
This is fun reading all this ha ha!!! There are 2 simple solutions. The boughro should sell licenses for $20.00 each & u can shoot up to 20 cats. Or just open up another Chinese joint.
I regularly attend council meetings and the town does everything to appease the wacko cat hoarders in town. When they hire animal control to catch skunks and other animals they use every humane approach to ensuring animals aren't harmed. I think in this case the Council needs to stand up to these cat hoarders and continue fining them. I don't know how this doesn't fall under the PA's ANIMAL DESTRUCTION METHOD AUTHORIZATION LAW.. nuisance animal can be shot. Seems like a lot of women in town have nothing better to worry about. A simple compromise could be reached. Cats should be trapped and taken to no kill shelter. Are they willing to drive these cats out of area to place that can take them? Ironically these people don't want to address issue that cats shouldn't be allowed to roam outside. Cats are biologically destructive to ecosystem. The excuse that you can't kill a living thing holds no bearing here. It may not seem "nice" but cats roaming everywhere degrades the town. You hate to kill but it has to be done
Half of this organization aren't even residents in town. They try to present impression that they have overwhelming support from the community. They don't! How about showing you care about the welfare of this town and come to every council meeting instead of coming to bitch about one issue 2 x a year. In this age of division and politics, Palmerton Council is pretty made up of bipartisan volunteers who trying to keep Palmerton clean and running smoothly on a budget. This is just a freak side show. The humane solution is eradication. Letting cat live in sub zero temperatures is inhumane. Would we allow feral dogs to roam around the woods? You all should be ashamed!
Read it and don't weep be forewarned this story on wnep 03/21/2019

LARKSVILLE, Pa. -- A community in Luzerne County is on alert after a cat was found with rabies.

The SPCA said that cat was put down, but employees are warning people in the Larksville area to keep an eye out for any other rabid animals.

Anita Raineri of the SPCA said the cat was acting aggressive and disoriented.

“[The cat was] drooly, wobbly, with an imbalance,” Raineri said.

The cat was found by a man with a cat colony, a place where he kept food and water out for strays along Mountain Road in Larksville.

“There is a lot of strays going around. It's kind of alarming that something like that could happen right up the road from your house,” Eric Bowman of Larksville said.

The man who was running this cat colony didn't want to talk to Newswatch 16 on camera but said it was in the area of the St. Vincent De Paul Cemetery in Larksville. He's since gotten rid of the cat colony.

“It's not good. I mean I've got three cats and a dog of my own and I know a lot of people around here have pets too, so a lot of other people could be affected,” Bowman said.

“It's usually by a bite or saliva. It could spread very quickly,” Raineri said.

In 2018 there was only one report of a cat with rabies in Luzerne County.

“In this day and age, they shouldn't! People should get their cats and dogs rabies shots,” Francis Holena of Harveys Lake said.

The SPCA urges pet owners to get a rabies shot for their animals. For questions on shots or symptoms, contact your local SPCA.

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