Who pays when cats damage property?

Who should be responsible for damages, if a feral cat destroys homeowner property?

The Salina Town Board listened to passionate pleas from cat lovers Monday night to ease up a law the fines them for taking care of feral cats.

The board pushed back a vote Monday, on a moratorium on the law that assigns responsibility for feral cats to the local animal rescue group that 's been trapping them. At issue: who will pay for damages when the released strays damage a homeowner's garden or other property?

'If you feed it, you own it,' says Salina Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra. "Someone's got to be responsibe for the damages. That will be the million dollar question and I'm not sure how we'll answer that."

Right now, some area cat advocates trap, spay or neuter, and then release feral cats, to reduce the population without killing any off. They maintain you cannot control where a cat goes to the bathroom. "Some people may not mind these cats roaming on their property and doing their business," says Nicotra. But there are others that just don't want it on their property. That's the other side. Those are also residents and we need to look out for them, as well."

"I really think the town board thinks we do it because we are crazy cat ladys and we want to," said Linda Young. "But if your neighbor is spaying and neutering and feeding cats, they are doing the right thing for the whole neighborhood and they shoulnd't be blamed."

The vote has been pushed back until the whole board can digest all the information and make a decision.