Meeting Story Practice Exercise8
You are a reporter for the Harkensville Daily Gazette. These are the official
meeting notes about the Harkensville County Council meeting that you attended.
Assemble these facts into a summary news story of 300-350 words. Assume
Harkensville is in your home state and that your story will be published online and
in print after midnight on the evening this meeting was held. Make sure your story
contains correct grammar, punctuation and AP style.
Public Meeting Agenda Item No.A-2
May 01, 2016
Animal Services Department Plan to Increase Live Outcomes at the County's animal shelter
Department Name: Animal Services
Contact Person: Mary Jones
Director of Management and Budget – Approved as to
Financial Impact Accuracy
Thaddeus Deuce III
City Attorney – Approved as to Legal Sufficiency
Staff's Recommended Board Motion:
Approve the Animal Services Department's Plan to Increase Live Outcomes in order to
lower the euthanasia rate at the County's animal shelter. This Recommended Board Motion
will require an increase in funding which was submitted in the FY16/FY17 budget process
Motion Pass: 6-1; Council Victor Mann opposed
Financial Impact Statement:
This Recommended Council Motion will require an increase in funding which was
submitted in the FY14/FY15 budget process for approval.
Live Outcomes for Sheltered Animals $986,100
Animal Intake and Returns-to-Owners 154,000
Pilot Community Cat Program
Harkensville County Animal Services (HCAS) receives more than 23,000 dogs and cats at
its open-admission shelter each year. The shelter actively seeks to reunite lost pets with
their owners and find homes for the remaining animals with new families or other rescues
groups and shelters. However, more than 12,000 animals are still euthanized each year in
the shelter. On March 2, 2015, the Harkensville County Council directed the County
Administrator to create a financially feasible plan to reduce euthanasia at the County
shelter. An Animal Services Task Force was created. This group produced ideas to assist
the Director of Animal Services in the development of a plan. This plan outlines more than
60 initiatives proposed by the Animal Services Department to send most animals out of the
shelter alive. A trap, neuter, and release approach was recommended to the City Council to
help lower operating costs at the county animal shelter but cutting the number of strays
euthanized there by 30%-45%.
Your notes on what happened:
Voted 6-1 to amend county animal ordinance, allow trap, neuter, release program to go forward
Residents will be able to trap feral cats, have them neutered and vaccinated, then return them to
roaming in neighborhoods. Called trap, neuter and release.
Considered way to reduce euthanasia at crowded animal shelters, keep public nuisance costs
down for county.
Same kind of program is used by at least 100 localities around country.
Some county vets opposed; county SPCA endorsed. Could cut cat population in half at shelter
“Do we really want more of these colonies popping up all over our community where your
children and your dogs play?” said Dr. Christy Leggett.
Pet adoptions up 38 percent at Harkensville shelter; dog and cat kill rate is down 9 percent,
according to city’s Director of Management and Budget
Michael Petworth, a Brookline vet and chairman of the county’s Animal Advisory Committee:
cats released back into community are health hazard; are not properly vaccinated or
dewormed; are danger to other animals, get fleas, kill migratory birds
Petworth: trap, neuter release does not reduce cat colonies unless 70 percent or more of feral
cats are sterilized. He didn’t say where he got figure.
Councilman Victor Mann voted no, cited Audubon claims about feral cats wiping out birds.
Donnie Moore, executive director of the Tri-State Association of Veterinary Hospitals and
Practitioners, supported proposed pilot program as cost effective alternative to more taxpayer
money spent on shelter
Moore: there’s feral cat overpopulation problem in downtown Harkensville.
Moore: suggested new ordinance to require cat colonies be at least 1,000 feet away from
schools, hospitals and playgrounds.
Animal welfare advocate Tammy Tomiko of PETA: rabies common in raccoons, skunks,
bats, foxes, coyotes, not cats
Tomiko: vets are trying to stir up hysteria using an isolated and rare instance of a rabid cat.
Was July case of 2-year-old girl bitten by rabid cat in North Hills neighborhood
Tomiko: said real problem is trap, neuter, release programs are inhumane and ineffective;
“Homeless cats do not die of old age.”
Tomiko: “Having witnessed firsthand the gruesome things that can happen to feral cats and to
the animals they prey on, PETA cannot in good conscience oppose euthanasia as a humane
alternative to dealing with cat overpopulation.”
About dozen animal activists in audience with PETA signs; loud applause for Tomiko from
Susan Kirby, Granby resident who volunteers at Harkensville animal shelter: county has
recorded only one rabid cat in 30 years. Didn’t say where she got the number.
Kirby said, “There is no rabies epidemic; it’s extremely rare.”
Mayor Nancy McDish supported moving ahead, said regretted the county had not done more
to implement the program already.
McDish said: “I believe enough cats have already died because of our inaction and I do not
want to delay moving forward.”
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