Kettering to vote on new partnership with SICSA for stray cats

Kettering is weighing a proposed amendment to its current animal control ordinance and a partnership with SICSA to deal with stray cats.

The effort is necessary because the county has stopped taking the cats and comes as Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals (SICSA) prepares to open a new $5 million shelter that will allow them to house more animals.

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“The ultimate goal of the new management process is to ensure that, if at all possible, cats are well cared for and placed up for adoption to a loving home,” the city said in a statement.

The city currently partners with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. But the county recently notified Kettering that the center will no longer accept stray cats.

ARC also will no longer accept stray cats from Huber Heights, Englewood, Union, Five Rivers MetroParks, Germantown, West Carrollton, Moraine, Vandalia and Brookville, according to Brianna Wooten, director of communications and external affairs for Montgomery County.

Cutting cat control contracts for local cities is one of the moves ARC is making as a result of suggestions from an expert hired to help the agency.

“(Next year) is going to be a transformative year at your shelter and it’s going to be unrecognizable in a good way, in the best way,” said Dr. Sara Pizano, creator of Team Shelter USA, which will provide the county with a host of recommendations to lower intake and reduce the number of animals euthanized.

“As soon as the city was notified of the operational changes at the ARC, we reached out to animal welfare partners to develop a solution that is in the best interest of the cats and our neighborhoods,” the statement from Kettering says.

Through the end of November, the Kettering Police Department trapped or otherwise obtained 156 cats — an average of 14 per month, according to Kettering Police Chief Chip Protsman.

“If these numbers are consistent in 2019, the city will pay for approximately 168 cats to be spayed or neutered,” he told city officials. “At an approximate cost of $45 each, this would result in a total expenditure of $7,560.”

The Animal Resource Center has come under criticism for euthanizing too many animals. County officials say more than 3,000 dogs and cats were euthanized at the ARC last year, but a vast majority of them were unhealthy, untreatable and in pain, according to Michael Colbert, Montgomery County administrator. On average, more than 100 dogs and 20 to 30 cats are housed at the Animal Resource Center.

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Nora Vondrell, executive director of SICSA, told the Dayton Daily News that if the proposed ordinance is approved, when the city receives a report of a stray cat, the community services officer locates and traps the cat. SICSA then will spay or neuter the cat, and if it’s healthy and friendly, will place the cat up for adoption.

“This will cut down on the unnecessary euthanization of cats,” Vondrell said.

If SICSA doesn’t have room for stray cats, the cat will have an ear clipped as a form of identification that they’ve been spayed or neutered and will be released where it was trapped. If the cat’s owner can be identified, then it will be returned to its owner.

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SICSA broke ground on a new $5 million facility in Washington Twp. last September, which will help it increase space for its adoption and community education programs.

Vondrell said it should be up and running in late fall or early winter.

Kettering has an ordinance prohibiting cats from roaming or being loose outdoors. Cats left on the loose could be considered stray.

The amendment to the animal control ordinance was removed from the Feb. 26 council meeting agenda because five votes were required and only four council members were present. The city council will vote on the proposed changes at its next meeting on March 12.

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