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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Board can't agree on stray animal feeding


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BROOKSVILLE - County commissioners agreed Tuesday they were not yet ready to decide when feeding stray cats turns from short-term humane gesture to feline hoarding.

They asked staff to come back in 30 days with recommendations that could lead to tweaking the existing county ordinance, which prohibits feeding and harboring an animal near one's premises. Staff will get input from the sheriff's office and animal services during that time.

All five board members had strong viewpoints.

Commissioner Nick Nicholson said he doesn't want to see any changes in the ordinance.

"I don't want to see people feeding feral cats indefinitely or at all," he said.

Commissioner Wayne Dukes said he had no problems with someone feeding or helping an animal for up to five days, as is permitted by ordinance.

Commissioner Diane Rowden said the board could tweak the ordinance, perhaps inserting a Good Samaritan clause that would differentiate between cat hoarders and people with a good heart who simply want to help an animal in distress.

Commissioner Jim Adkins said once it gets around through the feline grapevine that someone in the neighborhood is putting out food for one animal, it could lead to as many as 100 cats descending on the area.

Board Chairman Dave Russell said there are too many subjectives in the ordinance, and he hopes it can be clarified in 30 days.

v vIn other news:

County commissioners voted unanimously not to consider a request from Michael Honeycutt, president of Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc., who asked permission for his company to become a fixed base operator at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Commissioners agreed all airport matters need to first go before the airport manager and the Hernando County Aviation Authority for review before they get to the county commissioner level.

Assistant County Administrator for Operations Brian Malmberg told the board that all further requests from residents who want to get their road paved through the creation of a Multiple Service Benefit Unit are on hold until the end of the year.

Malmberg said that will give him time to catch up on the backlog of requests.

County commissioners formally voted on a resolution calling for the dismantling of the red-light cameras at two sites: U.S. 41 and Wiscon Road and Cobb Road, and Jefferson Road.

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