Letter: Work with non-profits to help strays

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To the editor,

In reference to the article (“Agreement leaves animal control position unfilled”) posted June 9, 2011 regarding the unfilled animal control position, I would like to make the following comment:

Mayor Mezzo’s words are downright chilling. He is telling his constituents that “the municipality’s mandated job is to protect people and pets from stray animals.” He claims he is an animal lover and would like to find homes for them, but his hands are tied, and he can only do what is required by law. Therefore, if we read between the lines, he is telling us the Naugatuck stray cats and kittens that enter the jurisdiction of the town facility will be euthanized due to lack of funds. Instead of being creative, he is taking the easy way out.

Yes, Naugatuck has budget problems, and there are things that must come first. What Mayor Mezzo is not telling you is that there have been local groups that have raised funds for the pound. His nickel-and-dime statement about saving the town $25,000 per year by allowing the police department to run the Naugatuck pound is ludicrous considering my organization, Straykatz, has donated much more than that to help with the pound expenses. Prior to that, another non-profit organization raised approximately $100,000 in the course of several years. You cannot expect any organization to pay for pound medical expenses, however, if the animal is now just going to be euthanized.

Mezzo also states that many Connecticut towns face the same problem, but based on how other municipalities such as Woodbridge, New Haven and Thomaston successfully work side-by-side with local non-profits, I do not think he looked into the situation too carefully.

There are very few non-profit, no-kill shelters in the state that actually house cats, and most organizations rely on a handful of burned out people who are willing to foster in their homes. As the economy and times in general get worse, these people get more scarce. The bottom line is that the strays in Naugatuck are not our problem, Mayor Mezzo. As the executive of the municipality, they are yours. With that being said, you need to do right by them. There is no housing for these animals except the pound. You have the resources such as Straykatz to help vet and find homes for them. To euthanize these cats is simply your choice and nothing more.

Joan Mancinone

President of Straykatz, Inc.