Letter: Animal control policies need changeI am writing to let you know of a situation that happened to me recently as a result of Cottage Grove’s policy with regard to animal control.
By: Celeste Knoff, Cottage Grove, South Washington County Bulletin
I am writing to let you know of a situation that happened to me recently as a result of Cottage Grove’s policy with regard to animal control. In the past, if one found a stray animal, the non-emergency number for the local police would be called and the animal was taken to the Park Grove Pet Hospital as per a city contract. I had used this system once before and it was very effective. In fact, my family eventually adopted the cat that I turned in several years ago.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, I was finally able to catch a stray cat that we had been trying to catch for months. With winter coming on, we were especially diligent in our attempts to catch this cat. Because we knew the cat was a stray and was very thin and hungry, we left food out for the cat several times as we made various attempts to catch him. After I caught the cat and called the non-emergency number, the officer returned my call and began questioning me as to the nature of the situation. When I mentioned that I had fed the cat a number of times, the officer said that my feeding the cat made him “mine” and they could not pick him up. After all, they only pick up stray cats and not animals that have “owners.” He informed me that it was not the job of the police to pick up animals of “owners who no longer want them.” I assured the officer that this was not my cat, but that I was only trying to help him until he could be caught and a suitable home found. I argued at length with the officer, but he would not pick up the cat. At one point he suggested that I just “open the door and let him back out” as a way to get rid of him.
The policy of the pet hospital is to only allow the police to bring in stray animals, so as not to be a dumping ground for people’s pets. I do understand this, but I request that the new policy of what constitutes a “pet” by the police department be reviewed. As a caring member of this community, I should not be penalized for attempting to help one of our most vulnerable creatures. I extend my sincere gratitude and applause to Park Grove Pet Hospital, which, after hearing my story, graciously accepted the cat the following day. This gray, longhaired, sweet cat is available there for adoption.