A policy that would ensure cat rescuers use best practices while managing feral colonies may come to pass in New Paltz. Rescuers would have to be listed in a registry, provide notification to neighbors in advance of setting traps, maintain records on all animals apprehended for six months and wait at least ten days before euthanizing any animal ensnared. The system is intended to ensure that pets caught up during a sweep are returned to their homes.
New Paltz Village Trustee Dennis Young said that several people have come forward with similar concerns, which convinced him that there is a need. Laura Petit, a town employee who worked as a rescuer for 12 years, has gathered letters of support from a wide swath of the rescuer community. The challenge, she noted, was that per state law towns have dog control officers, not animal control officers, meaning that there’s no enforcement mechanism. She supported first making it into a policy, in the hopes that it would be complied with in any case.
Petit recounted that four cats she was caring for went missing recently, and how frustrating it was that she did not know who to contact. “I must have called 30 vet’s offices,” she said, but the cats were likely captured and euthanized, she believes. She credited Terence Ward, whose cat was caught by rescuers and eventually located in New Jersey, for writing the original draft of the registration law.
“If my cat went missing, I’d want to know who to call,” said New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez.