Cape Charles Mayor Dize stepped in it this week when he unknowingly created a debate on the supposed feral cat problem in the great town of Cape Charles. This is a cautionary tale of what happens when government attempts to leverage the quantum nature of social media. Here is the message:
Over the past few weeks there have been many complaints about the Ferrell cat population in Cape Charles. It has been perceived that these complaints have come from new residents, I can assure you that’s not the case.
I commend the efforts from ESSO and the work they have been doing.
As elected officials we set policies, our professional staff follows out these policies. If our current Codes and Ordinances need to be changed or removed, we will take a look at them and adjust as needed.
Virginia is a Dillon Rule State, which means we can not incorporate a law unless it’s in the state code or we can not have a law that is contradictory to the state code. Below is links to the Town Code, County Code and State Code in reference to cats and pets.
It is to be noted that all pets must be licensed through the county, have updated shots and tags. Owners are responsible for their pets actions.
If your pet is not licensed, please have it done.
Some of the complaints we have been receiving is, porch furniture getting tore up, boat covers damage, cat peeing on people’s porches, cats pooping in peoples yards and the list goes on.
I have and love my pet, and take care of it. I don’t know anyone who wants to see an animal hurt. But at the same time I have a responsibility to the citizens of Cape Charles and take all complaints seriously. I listen and research each one individually.
So, what exactly is being proposed here? Catch all the cats and kill them? What kind of message is this? Are feral cats really a big problem? Are they really tearing up furniture and boat covers? Are they affecting property values?
Here’s some of the blow back from citizens:
Sounds like the ‘new bloggers’ in town aren’t happy.
…Apparently the cats keep photobombing their
collageof perceived good times with ice cream they’re posting on Instagram in an attempt to rent their homes in summer and increase their property values…
I have a problem with some of the citizens of this town who leave trash all over the beach and cigarette buds everywhere! Speed down the streets etc. People are doing more damage
thenthose cats. They have a right to live Smitty just like anyone else.
This is so stupid it burns. Five white people make a complaint and it becomes a public policy issue. The cats are not going anywhere, no matter what you do. They’re like the Taliban, they always come back. If the cats bother you, move. Isn’t the real problem all fat stupid golfers walking around in ugly pants? Aren’t they the real enemy? As a town, can we for once get our priorities straight? (this obnoxious note was of course from Wayne Creed)
Maybe they should all go back where they came from…
During public comments at Thursday’s Regular Meeting, several people voiced concerns about the derelict effect the cats are having on the town, and how the feral population was ruining the warm, fuzzy feeling Cape Charles used to have. The general complaint about cat urine and feces was most popular–property damage ran a close second. The plaintiffs, in this case only number around six.
I have a cat that I feed and let hang out on my porch, mainly because I like it and generally don’t GAF. It seems the bigger problem is the somewhat dainty people that have moved to this town, not being aware that a town, no matter the size is urban, and by nature, urban areas provide habit for certain forms of wildlife, such as mice, rats, squirrels and of course, cats.
Every day… a dapper little old man stepped out on the balcony on the other side of the street… Leaning over the balcony he would call: “Pussy! Pussy!” in a voice at once haughty and endearing… He then proceeded to tear some paper into scraps and let them fall into the street; interested by the fluttering shower of white butterflies, the cats came forward, lifting tentative paws toward the last scraps of paper. Then, taking careful aim, the old man would spit vigorously at the cats and, whenever a liquid missile hit the quarry, would beam with delight. — Albert Camus, The Plague
Live and let live. Mind your own business and leave the cats alone.