Feral Cats, Shelter Present Problems For Watertown Neighborhood

Feral Cats, Shelter Present Problems For Watertown Neighborhood

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There are two problems on Burlington Street in Watertown.

The first, dozens of feral cats run wild.

"They're multiplying all the time because they're not fixed. They just keep having babies; it's really sad," said Carol Smith, who lives on Burlington Street.

The neighborhood's solution is a shelter, where cats eat, get water, and escape the elements.

But that solution, is Burlington Street's second problem.

You see, the shelter is built on a city owned lot, and when some neighbors complain of the smell or number of cats there, the city comes and takes it down.

"At least a year or more, we've taken it down 2 or 3 times, and it pops back up," said Shawn McWayne, the city's code enforcement supervisor.

He says the feral cat problem isn't exclusive to Burlington Street.

"I think you've got the same problem throughout Watertown - there's cats all over," said McWayne.

"I think that's pretty typical of most cities, but the problem is that we have very few organizations that are willing to help with that," said Doug Marlow, executive director of the Jefferson County SPCA.

If you see a feral cat in your neighborhood, and you'd like to help out, you can come to the SPCA and pick up a "Have a Heart" trap.

There's a pressure plate in it that slams shut and lets you safely bring the cat to the SPCA where it can be spayed or neutered, and then released back to where it came from.

"It's a band aid, it's not a solution, but it does help," said Marlow.

As for Burlington Street, we don't know who keeps putting the shelter up, but if it were on private property, the city would leave it alone.

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