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Talk about stray animals dominates Roberts meeting

What to do with unwanted animals?

That was a prominent question on the minds of Village of Roberts board members at their meeting Monday, April 11.

The issue was first brought up by a resident during the public concerns portion of the meeting. The resident said that in the space of 30 minutes, he had seven stray cats on his property.

"It's getting ridiculous, you know that -- you were there and you saw them," the resident said while addressing Willard Moeri, village president.

Moeri acknowledged the problem, but said the solution was not simple.

"The problem that exists with this is that there might be one in 10 people that are in favor of having them, feeding them and that is all it takes to let them multiply," he said.

Another board member, Scott Gerhardt, said that he usually sees cats around the old feed mill. Moeri said that they are down there so they can hunt. If the cats are eliminated, he suggested, the village may have a new problem with the prey.

The board also discussed who would be liable should a cat bite a resident. It was not immediately clear since they said no one would claim the cat.

"The difficult part is there is not a good answer," sighed Moeri.

Later in the meeting, the board discussed Mally's Sunshine Kennels LLC. No one from the company attended the meeting, so the board was not able to ask questions about the submitted contract to handle stray animals, particularly the cost.

"(With the fees for vaccinations, sheltering, etc.) take a mother cat and four kittens and you have $1,500," estimated Moeri.

Police Chief Dan Burgess suggested there be language in the contract that residents just can't go up there and drop animals off because then the village would have to foot the bill.

"They could also have a Roberts address but live in the Town of Warren, so we do need to keep control there," added Katy Kapaun, board member.

Burgess said that typically they don't have stray dogs last longer than a day before being reunited with owners. Cats, however, are a different story.

The board decided to get more information before approving the contract.

In other news:

• Moeri presented Gerhardt with a certificate of appreciate for his time on the village board.

• John Bond, public works director, said that the No. 1 well has a sensor out. It would cost approximately $4,000 to get it serviced and replaced. The board approved.

• Burgess said that his department should be receiving the new squad car this week.

• The board approved Mike Bowman, village resident, to convert his 12-by-14 foot deck to an enclosed 14-by-16 patio. He had the approval of his neighbors and the planning commission.

• Peter Close, municipal judge, gave the board a list of what Scott Johnson, district court administrator, recommended on his first inspection of Roberts court. He said that they were only recommendations - nothing that needed to be done right away.

• Kapaun reported that there is a group interested in forming a Friends of the Library organization. It will be made up of volunteers, not library board members.

• Brenda Miller, librarian, told the board the Roberts royalty will be at the library on Saturday, April 16, for storytime to read to the children.

• Lisa Christensen, resident, asked for the board's approval in planning a Yellowstone trail race on June 18. The 8-mile race will begin at the railroad tracks in Roberts, run down Division Street to TT and on to Hammond. The board approved.