Marion city leaders and rescue teams working to fix feral cat pr - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion city leaders and rescue teams working to fix feral cat problem

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MARION -- City leaders are working on a plan with rescue groups in hopes of resolving a problem with stray cats.

It's a problem that's grown worse over the years and some families claim to have had more than 20 uninvited cats around their yard.

At a Marion City Council meeting Monday, folks went back and forth as groups worked to find a solution to the stray and feral cat problem.

Becca Baird, who serves as the director of Finding Forever, a nonprofit rescue, asked city leaders to take over the responsibility of cats from Marion Animal Control. They want to implement a larger 'TNR' program, which stands for "trap, neuter and return."

"It's a process of trapping these cats, getting them fixed, vaccinated, returning them back out where they're from to help lower the stray and feral cat population," Baird said.

Meantime, Marion Animal Control Supervisor Shanna Askew told News 3 they want to keep the responsibility and are doing what they can to help.

"We are completely for TNR but the thing is we are not for the way that it's done," Askew said.

Baird and a few others criticized Marion Animal Control, claiming there are cases of neglect toward animals. Some claim Marion Animal Control euthanizes more than they should, but leaders there say that is not the case.

"2014-2015 says we euthanized 34 cats, of those 34 cats, 13 were feral, 4 injured, 16 came into us sick and one of them came into us diseased," Askew said.

City leaders hope to bridge the gap and find a solution soon.

"It's just trying to figure out a happy medium, you know how to satisfy both sides but in the end we're just gonna do what's right for the entire city," said Angelo Hightower, Marion Public Property and Animal Control Commissioner. "It's going to take a lot of educating, that's for sure."

City leaders promised citizens the item would appear on the next agenda as they plan to continue the discussion at their next city council meeting in May.

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