PLATTSBURGH — Amendments to the city's pet code are up for Common Council consideration tonight.
Those changes are expected to tackle citywide feral cat populations and have been met with mixed reviews from the community.
Just last week, the council hosted a public hearing on the local law, attracting residents who were both for and against the proposed updates.
City of Plattsburgh resident Robert Cavanaugh was on the opposing side, saying the amendments felt like a quick fix.
"I think we need to realize, this problem did not crop up overnight," Cavanaugh told the Common Council. "It's something that's been going on for years.
“All of sudden, there seems to be a push to have an instantaneous solution to the problem — it doesn’t work that way.”
Under the proposed law, a dog or cat "owner" would be the individual who keeps, maintains or harbors the pet, who knowingly allows the pet to remain on its property or who regularly feeds the pet.
Among other requirements, the pet owners would be responsible for vaccinating their pets and, if a cat, having it microchipped before four months of age.
The law also looks at enforcement, making pet owners liable for violations, such as property damage.
Those opposed to the pet code updates felt the various provisions would discourage locals from feeding feral cats and/or hinder trap, neuter and release efforts.
Those in favor of the law, however, thought it was necessary and a long time coming.
City Councilor Peter Ensel (R-Ward 4) had put the local law up for consideration and said the law was a joint effort between himself and City Councilor Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1).
“We sat down with citizens on both sides of the issue,” Ensel said.
Also on tonight's Common Council agenda is a proposal to approve the city's Final Scoping Document of its Generic Environmental Impact Statement.
That statute of the State Environmental Quality Review Act allows for the joint review of various downtown projects, including some from the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Last month, the city held a scoping session to allow for public input on that document and accepted written comments, as well.
Per the city's resolution, the updated document, "reflects these comments as appropriate."
City councilors are expected to vote on both issues at their 5:30 p.m. meeting tonight in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Prior to that meeting, the city's Governance, Strategy & City Operations committee will meet at 4:30 p.m., followed by a council work session at 5 p.m.
All are open to the public.
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