Park City police probe report of feral cats at Dozier Field, traps planned
The Park City Police Department last week received a rare report involving feral cats, a sighting at the Park City School District campus on Kearns Boulevard that prompted an attempt to trap or otherwise capture the cats that was expected to continue through the middle of the week.
Reports of feral cats are unusual inside Park City, even in a community where pets have long roamed free with only limited attention from the authorities. It is not believed there is significant number of feral cats in Park City, but the sighting was notable nonetheless.
The Police Department received the report on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7:17 a.m. at Park City High School. The police were told the cats were toward the northeast corner of Dozier Field, which is used for a variety of sports like football, track and soccer. The person who filed the report with the Police Department indicated the cats were “in rolls of astro turf,” according to department logs.
The person told the police they “would like them caught and fostered to good loving homes,” the logs showed. The Police Department said the initial report on Oct. 8 was the only one fielded by the beginning of the week.
Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said one of the cats was captured at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. He said a Police Department school resources officer and two high school students, all wearing gloves, caught the cat, a kitten, near a shed in the general location of the Oct. 8 sighting.
Kirk said there are believed to be two additional feral cats in the vicinity of the high school. The other two have been “elusive,” Kirk said, explaining that the police had initially anticipated the cats could be caught without using a trap. The authorities instead plan to set traps by the middle of the week.
He said the feral cats, if they are captured, would be brought to Nuzzles & Co., a Summit County-based not-for-profit animal rescue. It is no-kill organization, meaning that the feral cats would not be killed if they are brought there upon their capture.
A School District spokesperson said the district’s facilities staffers at the beginning of the week were not aware of the report. Melinda Colton, the communications director for the School District, said people with issues regarding district property should contact school officials directly rather than the Police Department. She said the high school is addressing the issue with the cats, but details were not available. Details from Summit County Animal Control were also not available early in the week.
The Humane Society of Utah describes a range of problems with feral cats, including the nuisance they create by killing birds, damaging vehicles with scratches, fighting and making noises. They can carry rabies if they have not been vaccinated, the Humane Society of Utah says. The organization also notes that a feral cat may live several years instead of the 15 years or longer of a house cat. The life expectancy of a feral cat is reduced by a range of dangers, including disease, hazards in the environment, vehicles, animals, “disgruntled neighbors” and extreme weather.
“Stray and feral cats have to fend for themselves in our parks, alleys, farmyards, barns, apartment complexes, military bases, college campuses, campsites, abandoned buildings, under porches, inside sheds and outbuilding, inside abandoned vehicles, and inside empty homes. They live from day to day by scrounging in backyards, in garbage cans, in dumpsters, at public landfills, behind restaurants and by killing local wildlife, including mice, voles, rats, birds, snakes, etc,” the Humane Society of Utah says in an online posting.
Speaking with The Park Record, several council members expressed a desire for better lines of communication with the mayor’s office. The mayor provided a statement saying she believes councilor Rachel Kahler wants to control her office.
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