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Cat limits discussed again at Charleston City Council

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston officials haven't yet decided on a solution to cat overpopulation problems in some neighborhoods, but the topic came up again during a Monday meeting.

Two city residents spoke before council about problems they have with feral cats and people who hoard large numbers of the animals in their homes. Both said the cats venture onto their properties, ruin their lawns and gardens and kill wildlife.

"I've had problems with cats in my neighborhood," said John Taylor, one of the residents. "I've still got problems with cats in my neighborhood."

Taylor brought a copy of South Charleston's ordinance to the meeting, which he said Charleston officials should consider adopting. South Charleston only allows two cats in a residence and prohibits owners from allowing cats to roam freely or to keep cats that "disturb the peace and quiet of any neighborhood."

"It's a fantastic ordinance," Taylor said.

Councilman Cubert Smith, who brought up felines at a meeting last month, said he never meant to imply cats should be destroyed, only that something needed to be done about the problem.

"I think we're making a mountain out of a molehill," he said.

Councilman Tom Lane suggested the city should look at requiring owners to register cats just as it requires with dogs.

No formal action was taken.

Council members also:

* Approved a $20,000 settlement for a slip-and-fall lawsuit filed against the city. City Attorney Paul Ellis said the settlement is cheaper than continuing litigation in the case, in which the plaintiffs sued for $38,000.

            Glenna Mason and Donald Mason brought the case in relation to a May 28, 2010, fall at the Charleston Civic Center. The city will be released from any future legal action in relation to the incident.

* Approved a resolution designating Aug. 9-11 as Charleston High School All-Class Reunion Weekend. Councilman Andy Richardson said the reunion is significant because of the range and number of people attending, expected to be about 2,000.

            This is the second all-class reunion to take place, and Richardson said alumni from 38 states and two foreign countries will be attending, representing classes from 1936 to the school's closing in 1989.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at or 304-348-4817.


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