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Fairborn addresses feline abuse rumor


FAIRBORN — A stray cat problem in Fairborn has prompted the city to make a public statement on rumored feline treatment.

In a press release put out by the City of Fairborn on March 31, the city recognized and dispelled rumors of ordered animal abuse by Fairborn to Greene County Animal Control. Fairborn also clarified that it has and will continue to work with the Fairborn Trap-Neuter-Release Program.

TNR is a humane method of population control, according to the Humane Society, and involved capturing stray cats, spaying or neutering them, and then returning the feline back to its original habitat. This method causes as little disruption to the cats livelihood while keeping the cats from growing their population any further.

The press release, which was posted on Fairborn’s Facebook page and received more than 150 comments of differing opinions, made several statements clearing the air in regard to rumors of the city “rounding up” and euthanizing stray cats in Fairborn.

“There have been no requests nor will there be any requests, from the City of Fairborn to Greene County Animal Control to ‘round up’ feral/stray cats and/or feral cat colonies to euthanize them; this is an unfounded rumor,” reads the press release.

City Manager Mike Gebhart echoed this sentiment.

“I’m not 100 percent sure where that rumor started,” he said. “We have never and will never ask Greene County Animal Control to round up and euthanize stray cats.”

Gebhart also said that the city has $20,000 budgeted to Fairborn TNR, and has worked with the organization since 2018. The Fairborn TNR Project handles the TNR operation through fund-raising and volunteer work, while the City of Fairborn pays the veterinary bills.

The Fairborn TNR Project holds monthly clinics, and Fairborn affirmed in its press release that it plans to continue helping to fund these events.

In addition to supporting the Fairborn TNR Project, the City of Fairborn also contracts with Greene County Animal Control, but Gebhart clarified that this is on a call-by-call basis.

“We don’t have anyone from animal control patrolling Fairborn,” he said, adding that animal control only comes out to Fairborn after a resident has made an animal nuisance complaint. Gebhart also said that “a feral or stray cat is not synonymous with an animal nuisance.”

“What it boils down to is that the city receives calls weekly about nuisance animals around the city,” he said. “This was not directed toward feral or stray cats, it was to provide a comprehensive service.”

While Gebhart said he is unaware as to where the rumors of animal abuse initially began, a petition was started online and in three days has reached nearly 1,000 signatures.

The change.org petition, which started March 28, is titled “STOP the Defunding of Fairborn Trap-Neuter-Release Program!” The petition makes claims of Fairborn funding the “trapping and gassing” of stray cats prior to the founding of the Fairborn TNR Program in 2014.

The petition calls for an increase in funding to allow for two monthly clinics by the Fairborn TNR Project, and asks that the city makes stipulations in its Greene County Animal Control contract allowing the Fairborn TNR Project to work with animal control.

While Gebhart did no note any changes the city plans to make in light of recent rumors, he did express a desire to provide the best service in treating the stray cat population, as well as animal nuisance complaints in general.

“We will do everything we can to provide the best service available to our residents, comprehensively,” he said.

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.