County board defunds stray cat care - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

County board defunds stray cat care


After months of uncertainty, a decision. The Marathon County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to stop the funding for stray cats at the humane society.

"It's hard, our hearts are in helping all the animals," said Humane Society of Marathon County Executive Director Mary Kirlin.

Starting Jan. 1, the only stray cats the shelter will accept are those that bit a person and have to be quarantined.

"The issue really came down to a funding source," said county board vice chair Kurt Gibbs.

Leaders at the Marathon County Humane Society say they house about one thousand cats per year. Before, the county paid just more than $130,000 each year to help do that. Under the new contract, that amount will be almost cut in half.

"We're still going to be there to help when we need to but we just can't keep taking in all these stray cats," said Kirlin

That leaves cities, towns and villages to find a way to pay for the rest. Newsline 9 reached out to several town chairmen and mayors. Many of them were not available for on an camera interview. But they did say finding the funds could be challenging. That's why board members say there's help. For the first two years, the county will provide money those cities and towns can use to help offset the cost of their new contracts. But all municipalities must have a contract by march of next year to get the money.

"The county cannot license cats, cannot have a license for cats, however all the municipalities can and some in fact do," explained Gibbs.

The county still plans to pay about $70,000 each year for stray dogs.

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