Recommendation would cut funding for stray cats - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Recommendation would cut funding for stray cats


A Marathon County task force is recommending cutting funding completely for stray cats.

The task force is made up of county board members and the group plans to take their plan before the Finance Committee next month.

This is the latest twist in a large debate about animals and money in Marathon County.

More than 40 stray cats live at the Marathon County Humane Society right now, but under a new plan, finding shelter at the Humane Society would no longer be a guarantee.

"That's going to create a huge problem in relation to the community for cats and the feral cat issues that some municipalities are having," said Marathon County Humane Society Board President Linda Berna-Karger.

According to state law, the county has an obligation to pay for the care of stray dogs for seven days. Cats have no protection.

A task force focused on impoundment issues says it should be that way here.

Right now, Marathon County pays to care for both dogs and cats.

"We've done that in the past and it's obviously a very emotional issue for a lot of people," said Marathon County Board Member Jim Rosenberg.

Rosenberg is not a member of the Impoundment Issues Task Force, but he told Newsline 9 board members are taking everything in account, including a recommendation by the Wausau City Council to only care for stray animals for the first seven days.

"We're interested in what the city of Wausau has to say," Rosenberg added.

Humane Society officials said if the county stopped paying for stray cats it would be up to each city or town to figure out what to do with them.

"I don't believe that 30 days is too long for a cat and I don't believe that 18 days is too long for a dog," said Berna-Karger.

Rosenberg said he understands the passion on both sides, but the county doesn't have unlimited money and the Humane Society is a private group that can raise money.

"I don't think that the county is necessarily looking to do the absolute statutory minimum. We serve constituents and they have interests," said Rosenberg.

The task force will present its proposal regarding funding for the Humane Society to the Marathon County Finance Committee next month.

Meanwhile, Marathon County Humane Society leaders said they will continue to care for stray and abandoned animals until they get some answers.

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