Abandoned pets not so common in county

It is a lot harder to find owners for homeless cats, like the one pictured, than kittens?but black cats are even harder to be placed, according to some experts.  Patty Decker / Free Press
It is a lot harder to find owners for homeless cats, like the one pictured, than kittens?but black cats are even harder to be placed, according to some experts. Patty Decker / Free Press

Most communities in Marion County report they haven?t seen a lot of abandoned animals, but that doesn?t mean all animals have good homes or owners.

One woman said she found a cat at Marion Reservoir near a campsite restroom.

?When I heard a cat crying and saw he had a broken leg, it wa as if someone had thrown it out of their car,? she said. ?The cat?s leg needed to be amputated, but someone at the clinic where she was taken kept her.?

Another example involved two dogs discarded in different locations near Marion County.

?A chihuahua puppy was dumped near a farm and the people who found her already had three big farm dogs,? this individual said. ?The puppy melted my heart, and I kept her.?

Stories of animals being mistreated or left to fend for themselves outside of towns happens in Marion County, but officials said it?s not as often as people might think.


Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning said the city does have pet-abandonment problems.

?We do have people that take a pet outside of town and leave it,? he said. ?When that happens, we pick them up and take them to the veterinarian.?

If the animal isn?t claimed after a certain period of time, they are put down, he said.

Kinning said the city has its fair share of ferrel cats, like every other town does, but they are hard to control.

?We have no leash laws for cats,? he said.

One of the city?s biggest problems is skunks.

?Some skunks are more dangerous if they are out during the day, but being out in the daytime doesn?t necessarily indicate they are sick because they can get displaced,? he said.

Kinning said he rarely gets calls about possums because they are nocturnal and non-aggressive.

?A couple of years ago,? he said, ?we did have a coyote problem, but that has really calmed down.?

Now and then, Kinning explained, the police will get a sighting of one.

Part of the reason coyotes roam near town is because they are attracted to cat and dog food left out.

According to Gary McCloud, who trapped 14 coyotes in less than three weeks, when people have food out for cats and dogs, those animals become easy prey.

Two years ago, Kinning said the coyotes were trap?ped west and southwest of Hillsboro.


Marion City Administrator Roger Holter said whenever a dog at large is picked up, the registered owners claim them.

?We are able to go back through our records,? he said, ?and even if the tags are expired we can at least tell by the tag on them who they belong to.?

Marion Reservoir

Torey Hett with the U.S. Corps of Engineers at Marion Reservoir, said abandoned animals really hasn?t been a big issue.

?In year?s past,? he said, ?we may have had a handful of ones we had to deal with, but nothing major. We are also not seeing much at our campgrounds.?

Park Ranger Wesley Henson said he hasn?t seem much of a problem this summer either.


Goessel City Clerk Jennifer Whitehead said there are times when they have issues with animals running at large, but usually the owners are quick about getting them before it becomes a huge issue.

?We do have several stray cats?or at least I think they are stray?that run around town, but they usually don?t cause any issues,? she said. ?I also know there are several people around town who like to put out cat food for them just in case they don?t have a home.?

In recent weeks, Whitehead said she has seen a decrease in the number of ferrel cats.

?I think a huge part of that is coyotes,? she said.

As far as abandoned animals go, Whitehead doesn?t believe the city has problems in that area.

?I do think we have a great community that really comes together and works as a team to care for the cats (that could be homeless),? she said.

Black dogs and cats

Wendy Nugent, employed as a reporter with Newton Now, a newspaper produced by the publishers of the Free Press, said black animals discriminated against.

In checking other sources, Nugent?s claim seems to be correct.

Many shelters say ?re-homing? black cats (and dogs) is a national problem.

?We really are puzzled as to why this still happens but we would urge people to never judge a cat by its color, but look at its personality instead.?

According to another source, shelter workers call this color judging the ?Black Dog Syndrome,? meaning black cats and dogs are difficult adoptions.

Many shelters hold ?specials? for black cats and hold a black cat adoption month, but not in October.

One individual said she discovered that at some overpopulated shelters, black cats and dogs are euthanized upon admission with no chance to be adopted.

Why is black an unpopular color for pets?

One veterinarian said: ?To explain black as an unpopular pet color, people say that black animals just don?t photograph well. When you look at a black cat in a cage, people say they see no expression.?

As an added help to reconnect lost pets with their owners, the Free Press offers free classified word ads for lost or found animals.

For more information on this service, call 620-947-5702.