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Officials: Stray cats pose problem in Polo

City gets cooperation from residents

POLO – In dealing with stray cats, Polo officials are getting some cooperation from the people who are feeding them.

The city has received complaints about four residents with too many cats, which wander onto neighbors’ lawns where they defecate and urinate, officials say.

In recent weeks, Police Chief Dennis Christen asked those residents to take care of the problem. So far, he has had a good reception, Mayor Doug Knapp said. 

“It has never been or will be our intention to be inhumane,” the mayor said. “We’re trying to find a way to correct the situation.”

One of the residents promised to find a place in the country to take the cats, while another planned to build a kennel on her property. Still another indicated he wanted to help out.

The fourth resident “hasn’t really” responded, Knapp said.

In a letter to Christen last month, the city’s attorney, Tom Suits, said the mayor wanted to give the property owners a chance to resolve the issue by Dec. 15. 

“If there are ongoing complaints after that date, Mayor Knapp will ask the City Council to take appropriate action via enactment of an ordinance, which could lead to the issuance of citations,” Suits wrote.

Some of the City Council members weren’t told that the letter was going out, Knapp said.

“This was our means to deal with this diplomatically before we involved the council,” he said. “This was a decision I made because I thought it should be done swiftly. There was no intention to leave out the council members.”

Knapp said that because of the cooperation, he saw no need now to enact an ordinance. But he said the city had to set a deadline to solve the problem.

“We tried to correct it in the easiest way possible,” he said.

In his letter, Suits said Ogle County’s animal control department would “gladly assist” the property owners with the issue.

Kevin Christensen, who started as the county’s animal control warden last month, said his agency didn’t know about the letter until afterward. He said his agency has no animal control jurisdiction in Polo, but does help to set up feral cat colonies for residents who make such requests anywhere in the county.

In such situations, he said, his agency removes cats from a property and returns them either spayed or neutered.

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