Clayton Town Council discussed the cat issues in town at their meeting Monday night and will continue to look for a solution.

Discussions regarding the cat concerns in the Town of Clayton continued Monday night at the Clayton Town Council meeting.

Councilwoman Mary Ellen DeBenedictis has taken the reins on this project. Council held a workshop Aug. 22 in which they discussed the issue with residents and Hetti Brown, Delaware State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

DeBenedictis has continued her research since the meeting and has talked to residents about issues with both domestic and feral cats.

One area she's heard has an issue is Bassett Street and Rodney Street. DeBenedictis has also heard of cats walking up and down the railroad tracks at night: "We've got to come up with some kind of a solution."

Returning to council was Hetti Brown, who presented possible solutions for domestic and stray cats. Suggestions for conflict resolution for neighbors of cat owners included Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization.

Brown also provided suggestions on how to put into effect a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program. This program has been used by areas such as Harrington, which has roughly 600 stray cats, to take control of the situation.

Brown recommends TNR because if cats are just simply removed, other cats could move into the area. Since cats are territorial and protect their territory, TNR proves to be a great way to basically manage the cats into extinction.

The problem the town has right now though is getting a grip on the number of stray cats, since part of the issues involve homeowners letting their cats roam free.

"If you put this program in place, people will come out," Brown said. "People are scared they'll get in trouble for feeding strays. But once they see the town is doing this in a humane way, they could come out."

There was concern about the TNR program though, that if the cats are returned it wouldn't rid homeowners of the problem of cats on their property. Brown said the cats could be trained to stay off a property.

There's even a possibilty the town could receive grants, if they chose to go the TNR route. However, it all boils down to needing to know how many cats are in town and if there's volunteers.

Even though the conversation continued at the meeting, DeBenedictis said the town still has a long way to go to solve this issue.

"We have a lot of work to do. We have to get volunteers," she said.

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