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Residents say feral cats more than a nuisance

Koren, who is a Korean War veteran and a baseball umpire, said he even feeds the skunks and raccoons, joking he saw two of the skunks "making love" in his backyard one evening. He has three cabinets stocked full of cat food to feed the cats, and also stores food in his fridge for other animals.

He is somewhat wary about taking the kittens to an animal shelter since he fears they will be euthanized. If shelter can be found for them, though, he has no problem taking them in.

"If you can find homes for them," he said. "That's fine with me."

Executive Director of Animalkind, Inc., a no-kill animal shelter in Hudson, Katrin Hecker doesn't see the feral cats as a problem. She said the main culprits are the irresponsible owners.

"Kittens from abandoned cats come from irresponsible owners," she said. "These cats are the result of actions made by our own community members."

Animalkind works to find an area where the cats will have shelter and food after they have been spayed or neutered and have received their rabies vaccination shots. She says that these cats are "here for a reason," and that reason is to control the rodent population.

"If it wasn't for feral cats, we'd have a rodent problem," she said. "They create a buffer zone. If a rabid raccoon comes to a group of feral cats, the cats are vaccinated, so they won't get rabies. They can erase the nuisance behavior."

Hecker says Animalkind offers a low cost spaying and neutering program for $70. The city of Hudson has also created a spay/neuter fund that allows the shelter to provide services for free.

"It's a wonderful concept because we're attacking the problem at both ends" she said of the fund, which tackles the problem of irresponsible owners abandoning their cats without getting them fixed, thus, helping in controlling the population of the cats.

Shear said the state has a program for a low cost spaying and neutering that will be funded by surcharges placed on dog licenses. He said under the current state budget, the program will be run by a non-profit organization that has yet to be determined.

He acknowledged the idea of getting a cat licensed, but said he doesn't think there would be enough money to fund such a program.

"I'm not sure how I feel about the idea because I don't know how many people will get their cat licensed," he said

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