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County to reconsider allowing trap, neuter and release program

A topic discussed during recent Animal Shelter Task Force meetings will return to Rowan County Commissioners for discussion today.

Commissioners will discuss allowing a trap, neuter and return program for animals in Rowan County. Today’s meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the county’s administration building on West Innes Street.

Originally brought up during the task force meetings, commissioners on June 15 tabled discussion of a trap, neuter and release program for 60 days. If approved, the program would allow private groups to trap a cat, neuter it and return it back to its original location. Its ear would be clipped to designate the animal as neutered. Animal advocates brought it up during task force meetings in reference to feral cat colonies that cut down on rodents.

The program wouldn’t cost the county any money, according to Commissioner Craig Pierce, who supports implementing the program.

Presently Rowan County has a leash law, which also applies to cats, and an ordinance that defines adequate shelter as an enclosure of three sides and a roof. During the commissioners’ June 15 meeting, Chairman Greg Edds said the county may have to amend ordinances to allow a trap, neuter and release program.

In Monday’s agenda packet, a copy of Wake County’s trap, neuter and return program is included. It encourages organizations that engage in the programs to register through a sponsoring organization recognized by the Wake County Environmental Services Director or his designee. Wake’s ordinance sets several responsibilities of cat caregivers, including: trapping cats using humane techniques, cats being assessed by a veterinarian before being spayed or neutered, cats being vaccinated and cats being ear-tipped.

If Wake County’s Animal Services receives a complaint about an ear-tipped cat, the county will contact sponsoring organizations to resolve the complaint. The ordinances also sets rules for when a neutered cat is impounded by animal control.

A scientific journal article included in Monday’s agenda packet concludes that a “comprehensive long-term program of neutering followed by adoption or return to the resident colony can result in reduction of free-roaming cat populations in urban areas.”

Other items for discussion include:

• Approving a $1.91 million contract with Charlotte-based firm Talbert, Bright and Ellington to oversee construction of a community hangar at the Rowan County Airport.

The proposed cost includes $100,000 for site costs, $1.5 million for building costs, $100,000 for contingency and $214,500 for engineering, architecture and quality assurance testing.

The cost doesn’t include any additional ramp, pavement or automobile parking. An additional ramp would cost $140,000, according to the Charlotte firm’s estimates.

• setting a public hearing for a $2.5 million loan to fund improvements at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s North Campus

The loan would mostly pay for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements. The public hearing would be scheduled for Sept. 8.

• Picking architectural firm Ramsay Burgin Smith Architects to oversee construction of a Rockwell Emergency Medical Services Station

• Presentation of Rowan County’s latest financial report. A chart attached to Monday’s agenda packet shows the previous four years of sales tax collections as fairly erratic.

However, the top five highest grossing months on the chart include two months from 2015.

• Declaring August 28 as Food Lion Day

The declaration would be made by Edds and Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson, according to a resolution attached to Monday’s agenda.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.




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