Medina County commissioners have agreed to turn over responsibility for caring for stray cats to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The agreement calls for the county to pay $13,000 a year for the service.
Commissioner Steve Hambley said the board is expected to approve the agreement at today’s meeting.
Hambley said the tentative agreement, reached at a meeting Wednesday, should provide more and better services for cats.
The county Animal Shelter has been accepting cats, but the care is limited because the shelter is funded entirely by dog-related fees and Ohio law forbids using that money for cats.
Cats euthanized at the shelter also are not usually given a lethal injection. Instead, they are killed in a carbon monoxide gas chamber — a method criticized by some.
Thanks to the agreement, the county Animal Shelter will join 64 others county facilities in Ohio that don’t take cats, Hambley said.
Instead, people will be referred to the Medina County SPCA or Kitten Krazy — a local shelter that takes lost, abandoned, stray and unwanted cats and kittens from Medina County and surrounding areas.
“In promoting the SPCA and working with Kitten Krazy, we think that will address 95 percent of the issues with cats,” Hambley said. “Given the public outcry we felt something needed to change, it just required someone else stepping up.
“That was my main concern, that we don’t just leave people in the lurch, that we give them options.”
He said the new program should begin in early December. The county will donate many cages and cat supplies to the SPCA.
The SPCA will charge $10 to accept a cat — the same fee charged by the county Animal Shelter.
Although the SPCA will not accept feral cats, Hambley said Kitten Krazy will.
Kitten Krazy will spay or neuter feral cats and return them to whoever brought them in, or in some cases, keep them.
Hambley said SPCA is looking at options for a trap-neuter-release program as well.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.