PILOT MOUNTAIN — One of the more highly discussed problems facing Pilot Mountain now, feral cats, was the topic of discussion again at last night’s board meeting, and this time one local animal group offered a solution.
Michele Goad with People Helping Pets of Cana, Va., came before the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners to explain her solution to the overpopulation of feral cats in town. She said when feral cats are spayed or neutered and then released back into their colony that keeps other cats from joining the colony.
Mayor Earl Sheppard, who is also a retired veterinarian, said that more than 60 cats were captured behind Mt. Pilot Drug store. He said that the gestation of a feral cat is 68 days and then they can breed again just 11 days later.
“That’s four litters a year,” said Sheppard.
Town Manager Homer Dearmin said another local animal rescue group, Mayberry 4 Paws, had captured a number of cats and re-released them after they were spayed and neutered.
Commissioner Gary Bell said that even when the cats are captured, more seem to show up.
“I understand that people have outdoor pets, but that needs to be documented. I don’t feel like they are taking responsibility for their pets. We need to have more control over these animals,” said Bell.
He proposed that an ordinance requiring pet owners to register their pets with the town be adopted. That proposed ordinance stated that pet owners also would have to provide proof that pets had been spayed or neutered and are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Sheppard said he would like to hold a public hearing and have further discussion by the board before any ordinances are adopted.
Goad went on to tell the board that she works with an animal group from Greensboro that provides spay and/or neutering and rabies shots on feral cats for $10. She said the group only works with feral cats that have been trapped humanely. She also explained that the cats ears are tipped, or lasered off one-quart to halfway to be marked, so if caught, the trapper will know if they already have been fixed.
Bell expressed his concern at this practice in that it may harm the cats. He wanted to know if collars and tags might be the solution. Sheppard explained that feral or wild cats get caught and often die if they are wearing collars.
“Have you been close to a feral cat?” Goad asked. “They are terrified of human beings. They are going to bite. They are not tamable.”
Anna Nichols, librarian at the Charles H. Stone Memorial Library, suggested that people could “adopt” a cat by paying for the $10 fee to have the animals spayed or neutered and then vaccinated.
Goad said she has been working with a group in Forsyth County that also places microchips in feral cats so they can be identified without tipping the ears. Sheppard said he wanted to learn more about the microchiping program.
In other business, the board approved a request from the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority to look into the possibility of building public restrooms on the side of the town’s public works building, which is the former fire department.
In a public forum, Meigs Needham asked the board why the crosswalks in town had not been installed. Sheppard said the money for those crosswalks from the Safe Routes to School program was awarded a year ago, but the town never received the $20,000 for the project from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He urged Needham and other citizens to call to request those funds so that the crosswalks can be installed.
Police Chief Darryl Bottoms reminded the board and those in attendance about Operation Medicine Drop that will be held this Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mt. Pilot Drug store at 119 W. Main St. He said any and all types of medication will be taken.
He also reminded everyone that the first weekend in October will be the last cruise-in of the year. He said East Surry’s Homecoming Parade will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 12.
Dearmin said there will be a large-item garbage pick-up from Oct. 1 to 5. He said residents should go to www.townofpilotmountain.com to see which items will be picked up and on which days to put the items out.
Dearmin said the land the town owns on Veterans Drive will go on sale today. He said it is a commercial property that has access to water and sewer.
Reach Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.