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Roberts discusses cat issues

Cats were on the minds of the Village of Roberts board members at the Monday, Jan. 11, meeting.

Police Chief Dan Burgess said a lawsuit against the Humane Society prompted the department to rethink how they will handle stray cats in the future.

Although there isn't a huge increase in stray cat calls, it is a continuing problem and he suggested finding alternative ways of handling loose felines.

"We could see if there are any volunteers from the rural areas that would want the cats as mousers," Burgess said. "We could put them on a list of people who might be interested in taking them in."

Willard Moeri, village president, said he didn't feel comfortable doing that with the feral cats because of any diseases they might be carrying.

"Feral cats are a dynamite issue," Moeri exclaimed. "I know the easy answer, but it's not the popular one."

One board member questioned whether licensing cats might be the answer.

Burgess answered that at his former position in Spring Valley, they licensed cats. However, he said the issue was that the responsible pet owners were registering the cats - not the ones who let their cats run loose and cause the problems. He also said it was difficult to identify cat owners.

The board later approved renewing its contract with the Animal Humane Society, excluding the feral cat issue.

"The problem is not a lot of other facilities do this," Moeri said. "Our only alternative is not to do anything. I wish St. Croix County would put so much into this ... it's everyone's problem."

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Another issue Burgess brought before the board was whether Roberts wanted to create "child safe zones" when registered sex offenders were selecting a place to live.

According to Burgess, Somerset and Woodville have established ordinances that specify a certain distance the registered sex offender has to be from areas that are frequented by children, such as schools and libraries.

"The concern is that if some community doesn't have stipulations in place and the surrounding ones do, that community will see an influx of offenders coming in," Burgess said.

He explained that those who are on probation or parole already have strict guidelines. Once off parole and probation, they are free to live wherever they want as long as they are registered.

The board asked for copies of the Somerset and Woodville ordinances so they can consider the issue.

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The park board suggested raising the deposit for renting the park shelter from $50 to $100. Chuck Pizzi, chairman, said a recent incident prompted the increase.

"The only real issue is people renting the building and not cleaning it afterward," Pizzi explained.

Katy Kapaun, board member, suggested that Kris Lubich, village custodian, give the clearance as to when the facility is cleaned and the renters could get their deposit back.

Pizzi said the park board will review the rental agreement at their next meeting and invite Lubich to attend.