Woman Takes Cat Overpopulation into Own Hands

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A proposed cat ordinance in South Hills is causing controversy, but one neighbor is taking things into her own hands.

From cat signs on her front door to cat decorations across the yard, it's no secret Debbie Cobb loves cats. She's even taken that love throughout her entire South Hills neighborhood.

"I noticed there was a population of cats being produced, and it was getting up to the number of 30 to 40 cats," Cobb said.

You could call her the cat catcher.

"Within the last two years, I've taken in 80 cats and it has helped the neighborhood get the population down," Cobb said.

Eighty cats she's caught with traps in her own yard. Once she catches them, she takes them to the vet, has them spayed or neutered and then sets them free.

"They've had their shots, and I went ahead and had them (treated for fleas) for awhile," she said. "At least they don't have fleas and ear mites."

She also has an ear snipped in the corner. That way, she doesn't repeat herself if she catches a cat twice.

Cobb says this step is the first in reducing the overpopulation problem. An ordinance limiting the number of cats you can own was recently tabled by the city. She thinks a law like that won't help.

"An ordinance of how many cats you can have right now, I don't think would work. Right now, we need to get to the root of the problem," she says.

The root of the problem, Cobb says, is people having too many cats that aren't spayed or neutered. "The neighbors need to take responsibility of when they do have a cat to have it neutered or spayed."

Each time Cobb takes a cat she catches to get spayed or neutered, it costs around $50 to $75 she pays out of pocket. She just hopes her neighbors will step up to the plate and get their own cats fixed.

Charleston City Council is planning on discussing the cat ordinance again at their next meeting.

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