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Wis. city looking for place to keep stray cats

  • Associated Press
  • February 14, 2014 - 10:05 AM

WAUSAU, Wis. — Police in Wausau have stopped picking up stray cats because they have no place to put them after the city rejected a contract with the Humane Society of Marathon County.

Wausau is looking for another organization to care for the cats after it voted against an $80,000 agreement with the Humane Society for the service, Daily Herald Media reported (http://wdhne.ws/M0648 ) Friday.

The issue isn't unique to Wausau. Marathon County defunded stray cat care for 2014 and instead passed the cost down to municipalities. So far, only one town has agreed to a contract.

The county agreed to give towns some funding for two years. Those funds would knock Wausau's price tag for 2014 down to $62,500.

A city ordinance requires any pet found without a rabies vaccination tag to be impounded and cared for. Police haven't been doing that since the city rejected the contract in January, and that's put Wausau in a bind.

"We have some exposure because no one wants to violate new ordinances," Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said. "But we have to come up with a solution."

The Humane Society contract estimates the cost of housing each cat is about $200. Humane Society board president Linda Berna-Karger said that's non-negotiable.

The Wausau council voted 7-3 against approving the contract, with some members expressing dismay over the Humane Society's hardline offer.

"I was disappointed the Humane Society didn't follow up with an offer and try to negotiate," council member Jim Brezinski said.

The city expects to send out a request for proposals in the coming weeks in search of a better deal.

Meanwhile, the city will decide whether it will pay the $480 bill for four cats sent to the Humane Society in the first two weeks of this year. City leaders said the cats were dropped off by the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.

© 2014 Star Tribune