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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 01 2009

City of Fargo to study cat proposal

Fargo city commissioners agreed Monday to have city staff study a proposal offered by an animal welfare group to have the city help pay for vaccinating feral cats and testing them for feline leukemia.

Minn-Kota PAAWS, an agency that provides animal welfare services in the Fargo-Moorhead area, wants the city to chip in $20 to treat each animal.

Carol Sawicki, PAAWS clinic manager, said estimates by city animal control officers are that there are 300 to 500 feral cats living around Fargo’s five mobile home parks and in its industrial areas.

PAAWS, or People Advocating Animal Welfare Services, would pay the cost of spaying or neutering any cats that were trapped as part of the program.

She said the effort would have to begin in January or February, before the animals’ breeding season got under way, to be effective.

While Sawicki had no estimate of the total cost to the city, she said it could be possible to catch 200 to 300 cats per year, which would cut down on the number of animals in the wild and the number of cats euthanized.

She said feral cats present health hazards for people who are bitten.

PAAWS now does sterilization surgeries on about 1,500 cats a year, mostly from families who would otherwise not be able to afford the expense, Sawicki said.

In other business, the commission voted 5-0 to accept the recommendations of the Metro Flood Work Group.

Those recommendations include:

Another option, a 25,000-cubic-feet-per-second diversion in Minnesota, is under study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the plan that may offer the best benefit-to-cost ratio for the nation.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583