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December 13, 2010

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to a December 13th article written by Jean Jones about the feral cat colony in Fortescue. Because my name was mentioned in the article, I want to clarify my opinion on the situation.

First, I love cats. Dogs are more fun but I've had at least one cat in my house for most of my life. My cat, Aussie, is stretched out asleep on my desk as I type this letter. Aussie Cat Sleeping as I work

For clarification, there are actually two feral cat colonies in Downe Township. Although the Fortescue colony is the more famous, the one at the Downe Township Inconvenience Center has existed for more than twenty years. My Aussie is a repatriated feral kitten from the Inconvenience Center colony.

The Fortescue cat colony articles imply that feral cats in Fortescue are a Downe Township issue. The situation is a land owner issue. In this case the land owner is the Natural Lands Trust. (The Trust is one of the landowners responsible for Downe Township's 71% tax exempt land status.)

If the Fortescue colony is such a issue, why isn't the County Health Department or the SPCA or whomever has jurisdiction over such matters citing the Natural Lands Trust for having an attractive nuisance or a health issue on its property? No Downe home or business owner would be allowed to have dozens of cats proliferating on their property. Why is the Trust being held to a different standard than the rest of us?

The people who are feeding the cats are doing so out of love, compassion and concern. From the very visible fat cats in the group to the often uneaten food, one can tell the Fortescue cats are thriving. Maybe the rest of us can learn something from those caring people who feed the Fortescue cats.

Maybe we can learn something from the words of Ghandi: "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

In closing, I want to make clear that I am not complaining about either cat colony, I'm complaining that Downe Township is taking the heat and the Natural Lands Trust isn't being cited. The residents of Downe Township should not be burdened with something which is the Natural Lands Trust's responsibility.

Bernie Sayers

Copyright © 2010 Bernard Sayers