Residents hope to avoid population explosion on city streets

HORNELL — A clowder of cats has cropped up in the 4th Ward.


Alderman Rich Argentieri said the streets of the 4th Ward have seen a jump in the cat population this spring, with several new litters of kittens concerning residents.


"I’m working with them diligently. We do have a situation," Argentieri said during this week’s Common Council meeting. "We’ve been looking at farms and trying to find some drop-offs because this clowder of cats exist and destroy property every day in the 4th Ward. I know we brought it up with law & ordinance a few years ago and it kind of died because (cat numbers) went down. We do have some feeders of strays. I know people love animals, but there is a situation now in the 4th Ward and there’s kittens involved."


Argentieri said the population ebbs and flows over the years, but "when you see kittens, it’s concerning." Residents do not want to see the neighborhood’s cat population explode into a problem.


While the challenge of managing the city’s cat population can be like, well, herding cats, Mayor John Buckley said the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program offered by the Hornell Area Humane Society can help curb the number of feral cats on city streets. Buckley said the program deploys to hot spots around the city as they pop up.


"The TNR program the Humane Society has for city residents does work. It takes time," Buckley said. "It’s not a quick fix by any stretch, but it’s been proven to be effective in other communities over the years. I think as the years go on you’ll see the impacts of that. The Humane Society officials do a really nice job providing those numbers to us throughout the year. It really shows where they’re doing it. If there is a collection of cats, reach out and we can try to steer them to those neighborhoods."


The Common Council approved an extension of its existing contract with the Hornell Area Humane Society Tuesday night to provide dog and cat control and shelter services for a three-year term, through March 31, 2023.


"Everything seemed to work out really well," Buckley said of the current contract. "Typically we do a year-to-year contract, but since it was working so well we asked if they wanted to do three years and the answer was yes."