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Thousands of feral cats turn Ohio city into giant litter box, raise health concerns

Posted at 4:40 PM, Aug 13, 2018

LORAIN, Ohio — The city of Lorain, Ohio has a cat problem. City officials estimate at least 9,000 feral cats roam the city. They say they are causing problems and even raising health concerns. 

"They're taking a crap in our yard," Lorain resident Amanda Bennington said, adding that she's constantly cleaning up cat poop. "It's nasty!"

"They pee on my plants that my dad put in here...and then my plants are dead, so I have to dig them out and throw them away," Laurie Bennington said. 

Sometimes, the problem is so bad, Bennington said the smell of urine makes its way into their home.

"Even if you're in the house, you smell it all around the house. It's ridiculous," she explained. 

Those are just a few of the reasons folks who live Lorain are fed up with feral cat overpopulation. 

Ward 2 City Councilman Dennis Flores said he's working on getting a program together to target the problem.

Flores said  "the focus is on reducing the population" before residents take it into their own hands.

"You get some of them that are so mad, they're gonna threaten to poison them or say 'I'll take care of this.' Hey, I'm not suggesting you do that," Flores said.  

Lorain is currently modeling a volunteer program around official trap-neuter-return, or TNR, programs in cities like Elyria, where volunteers trap the feral cats, pay about $35 to have them spayed or neutered and then release them. 

Flores said he's working with some local volunteer leaders who are already doing this and paying for it out-of-pocket, to gather donations, while trying to get an official nonprofit running. 

"We need volunteers until we can get a grant to sustain the movement in the group," Flores explained. "Right now it's up in the air to get individuals to do it on their own."

He estimates they'll need a few thousand dollars to get the TNR program started. They're trying to raise that through donations right now.