An online petition against a Cumberland County community's plan to trap and euthanize feral cats is gathering support.
Late Friday evening the petition had nearly 2,500 signatures, but those names weren't just from the Midstate. People from all over the country singed on. The petition was started by someone in Orlando, Florida. One person from the United Kingdom even weighed in.
That person commented on the website with, “CRUEL, CRUEL, CRUEL.”
Township officials did not return phone calls Friday afternoon.
We found locals on both sides of the issue.
“It's time to take the steps, even if they are a little harder and solve the problem correctly without the cruelty,” Vanessa Hovetter said.
“The kids should be safe where they are playing and not have to worry about being bit by an animal,” Nick Bowermaster said in support of the township's plan.
The petition was addressed to state and local officials, including the governor. It can be viewed here: Change.org petition.
Baiting, trapping and euthanizing: that's the plan of action in a Cumberland County township after a preschooler was attacked by a rabid cat.
The child is expected to be fine, but South Newton Township has decided to take action. Officials have hired a company to trap feral cats on September 7-8.
Infected or not, the cats will be euthanized.
Residents who oppose the plan said they will do whatever they can to make sure the animals are not put down.
In 2010, Cumberland County had the highest rate of rabies in Pennsylvania.
“If it's a mammal, a warm blooded animal, whether it is a human, a dog, a cat, a horse, a sheep, if they get the rabies virus, it's fatal every time,” said Dr. Billie Ritter of Holly Pike Animal Hospital.
For a human to survive an infected bite, rabies must be treated before it reaches the brain.
South Newton Township is advising all residents to keep their pets indoors during the two trapping days.