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Fort Macleod to discuss stray cat issue

Fort Macleod residents will have an open discussion about stray and feral cats in the town.
The Town of Fort Macleod is hosting a community cat public engagement session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.
R.J. Bailout, executive director and co-founder of the Canadian Animal Task Force will be in attendance.
“Mr. Bailout offered his help in gathering this information and moving forward in the process,” Town of Fort Macleod director of community and protective services Liisa Gillingham said during the Feb. 24 council meeting. “I’m really excited to have him come down.”
Council is searching for a solution to the problem of stray and feral cats causing issues in Fort Macleod.
A decision was made earlier this year to engage residents in determining the size of the problem and finding a solution.
Gillingham told council last week several groups, including the Canadian Animal Task Force, reached out to the Town of Fort Macleod in the previous two weeks.
The Canadian Animal Task Force is a registered charity that partners with communities to humanely manage cats and ensure their safety and well-being.
Council learned a community-based program was started in 2019 to assist municipalities dealing with overpopulation of free roaming cats.
A clinic was held in Carseland with 84 feral cats trapped, spayed and neutered, treated for parasites, vaccinated, tattooed and ear-tipped.
Since then, local residents continue to monitor and care for the feral cats.
Gillingham said Bailout is attending the meeting to provide advice based on his experience.
“He’s going to be a great resource for us,” Gillingham said.
Gillingham is hopeful the meeting will attract a large gathering.
“I invite you all to come and participate in the conversation,” Gillingham told council.
Coun. David Orr asked about the format of the meeting.
“Will there still be an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues about cats?” Orr asked. “Are we going to be able to get as much information as possible?”
Gillingham said the topics for discussion will be wide-ranging, including natural deterrents to keep cats out of yards and the location and numbers of feral cats in Fort Macleod.
“One of the things I personally want to talk about is how the community sees this and if there truly is a problem,” Gillingham said.
Gillingham told council some people have called to express concern about the town spending tax dollars to control stray and feral cats.
Orr wondered if there will be a discussion about licensing cats.
“We can sure talk about that,” Gillingham said.

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