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Polo City Council discusses issues with feral cats

City trying to address complaints of cats and solicitors

The Polo City Council discussed a possible ordinance to control the city’s feral cat population at a meeting on Monday. The discussion stemmed from complaints about wild cats and other animals being in larger numbers due to residents feeding them. 

Calls have been coming from the west side of town near the Maple Avenue and Mason Street area. 

“We’ve had a lot of complaints lately,” Alderman Jim Busser said. 

Polo Police Chief Jon Mandrell said residents have gotten ahold of feral cats and called the police expecting them to come and pick them up, when its not in fact their responsibility. 

Sterling made a recent ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wild animals within its borders that council members looked at as an example. But, Sterling’s ordinance still allowed the feeding of cats, with restrictions. 

In Sterling, the rules for cats include feeding them primarily during daylight hours and restricting feeding times to 30 minutes. Residents can only feed cats on their own property; permission is needed from landlords. Feeding cats on public property is prohibited.

“It’s been a problem for a long time,” Alderman Randy Schoon said. “And what these people don’t realize is that food attracts these animals. Possums, skunks, raccoons and coyotes.”

The discussion ended with the idea to have the police go out and speak with residents that have been feeding the feral cats that have been causing the complaints about large numbers of cats. 

“We should tell them, point blank, this has to stop. If this does not stop, you’re going to force us to make an ordinance that stops it and you’re going to get fined on a daily basis as long as it goes on,” Schoon said. 

Unconventional Sales

The council discussed a possible ordinance that would attempt to further regulate solicitors that come into Polo and attempt to make sales door-to-door. 

Stillman Valley has vests that they give solicitors that shows they are approved by the village that require a deposit equal to the amount of the vest. Polo City Clerk Sydney Bartelt said that was part of her inspiration for the discussion topic. She quoted the cost of vests with a vendor. 

“This way, if they want their money back, they have to return their vest during business hours,” Bartelt said. “So they won’t be out after that.”

An ordinance would have to be made for the policy, because the city can’t take money from someone if it’s not in ordinance form. Solicitors are currently required to get a permit at city hall. The cost $25 for a day or $200 for a year. Bartlelt and Mandrell said solicitors make citizens uneasy when around. 

“The phone rings off the hook when they come to town,” Mandrell said of solicitors.

The overwhelming tone of the discussion was against solicitors. Aldermen advised City Attorney M. Thomas Suits to look into the legality of a possible ordinance banning solicitors in Polo. 

The Polo Police Department has submitted an application for a squad car grant from the United States Department of Agriculture that will cover up to 35 percent of a squad car at some point in the future. 

There is no application on the grant. Based off current equipment, the grant could cover as much as $16,000 on a new car.