A situation has developed in the neighboring community of Stryker that is so unusual, it warranted the interest of the Archbold Buckeye.
In response to complaints about stray, possibly feral, cats, Stryker police officers were trapping the animals and “dispatching” them.
“Dispatching” meant taking them to the Tiffin River, shooting them in the head, and then leaving their bodies on the riverbank or tossing them in the river.
The outrageous answer to the stray cat problem apparently looked reasonable to Steve Schlosser, Stryker police chief, who gave orders to his officers to carry out the policy.
Presented with a problem, Schlosser developed a solution. Now it’s obvious, to him and everyone else, a better answer is necessary.
Schlosser must be commended for taking full responsibility of his decisions, sparing those under his command with possible criminal convictions. He was found guilty of a criminal charge of animal cruelty and fined $500. Stryker village council handed down a two-week suspension without pay.
But there’s plenty of blame to share.
While Ohio established the role of the dog warden to deal with stray dogs, no similar mechanism exists for cats. There is no “cat warden.” Dealing with cats falls on local humane societies, who have limited funds to deal with cat problems.
A couple in Stryker was feeding the strays, reportedly going through 35 pounds of cat food a month. That alone exacerbated the problem. The free cat food buffet should have been stopped early on.
The woman who eventually filed the criminal complaint against Schlosser said two of the cats killed were her pets. Did she put collars on them to designate them as pets? Did she keep them indoors? The answer to both questions is no.
Stryker village council must find a better way to deal with stray cats.
Also, it must rehabilitate Schlosser in the eyes of the community. While he has supporters, many will hold this against him, possibly for the rest of his career. He is, after all, a police chief convicted of breaking the law.
To use a common expression: good luck with that.