NEW PHILADELPHIA Dover, Oh

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DOVER (WJER) - Dover’s city council meeting got a little contentious Monday night after a group of citizens asked council to allow them to continue caring for stray cats in the city. 

The mayor and council scheduled a special meeting for next Monday to discuss the issue, but some in attendance wanted a more immediate solution. One said she would risk going to jail to feed the cats, while Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen said that won’t happen.

“I’m 74 years old. If you want to arrest me and put me in jail for feeding a cat, you’re welcome to,” said the group member.

“No one is going to arrest anybody,” replied Homrighausen. “You’re overreacting, and you’re misstating what has happened.”

The citizens told council they have been feeding the cats, mainly near Bob Evans in Dover, and trapping them, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them, in order to control the cat population. 

“We need you to modify an ordinance among other things that allows people to do good work at no cost to you because whatever helps the community cats helps the community,” she said.

The ordinance in question regards animal abandonment, and city officials say this group’s actions violate that ordinance. But Mayor Homrighausen objected to how the citizens characterized their interactions with police.

“There were comments that people were threatened with arrests. That is not true,” he said. “I’ve had long discussions with my police chief and he indicated that no one was ever threatened with arrests. They were just read the ordinance.”

Fifteen people spoke at the meeting about the stray cat issue. Next week’s special meeting on the topic is at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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