A staffer holds a cat at the Columbia-Richland animal shelter. Photo by Thomas Hammond
The Paces Brook Apartments complex in Harbison is billed as a “pet-friendly” community that includes a dog park.
But some residents say the property management has lately become very unfriendly, at least toward cats.
During the past few weeks, notices have been sent out that cats are not permitted to roam the property. Traps have been placed throughout the property to catch any strays.
Once captured, the cats would be sent to the Columbia-Richland animal services facility, where they are likely to be euthanized. While the shelter is pursuing a no-kill policy, it currently has far too many animals to implement such a program: In 2012, it took in nearly 11,000 animals, of which around 7,200, or nearly two-thirds, had to be euthanized.
Paces Brook resident Jill Ferguson is so angered by the traps she is now moving out of the complex.
She describes it as a “sudden and hostile policy.”
Resident Lynn Kurvcz describes the actions as “horrible” and said she also plans to relocate to a more pet-friendly environment after losing a longtime cat friend she and her husband named “Baby.”
In an effort to protect the cat, which had been been living outside her apartment for years, she attempted to officially adopt it to provide it protection from being trapped. But she was stunned to learn through the adoption process that her beloved cat had an implant chip that prompted contact with the original owner. That owner requested that the cat be returned.
But Paces Brook Manager Kevin White says there are far more complaints about the problems feral cats cause than about the effort to remove them.
He says there are wild kittens roaming around that attract children. At least one child has been bitten.
The apartment complex is responding in accordance with an agreement pet owners sign when they move into the complex with a pet. That agreement states that cats are not permitted to go outside on the complex grounds without a leash.
But Ferguson said some residents were not aware of that provision, which she said has not been enforced in recent years. What frustrates her is that pet owners actually pay $300 for the privilege of having a cat on the premises when they move into the apartment.
Traps are set near walkways and left for many hours without anyone checking on trapped animals, Ferguson says.
Ferguson got so upset when she spotted “Leroy,” a cat she had become familiar with over the years, in one of the traps, that she took it upon herself to release it and take it to a veterinarian.
She believes there’s a better way to handle the problem of roaming cats.
A community of feral cats that came to be known as the “Bi-Lo cats” in Chapin made headlines in 2012 when property owners considered having them removed. Neighbors in the community were feeding the cats, and there was a fear that the colony would grow as the cats reproduce.
But the community responded by having the cats taken to an animal care facility and neutered. Volunteer caretakers were found to provide care for the cats.
Some say feral cats can pose problems because diseases and infections can be spread from cats to humans. These include rabies, cat scratch disease, toxoplasmosis, salmonella, ringworm and roundworm, among others.
But stray cats rarely pose any serious problems in the Midlands, according to Wayne Brennessel, executive director of the Columbia-based Humane Society. He said he has never heard of a rabid cat in the Midlands during the five years he has held his post.
He says the first thing that should be done with feral cats is to have them neutered because they can reproduce rapidly.
The Humane Society has a Trap-Neuter-Return program. The cats are trapped in harmless cages, taken to a low-cost spay and neuter clinic and then re-released back into the wild.
But Brennessel says “there is no sanctuary” for cats to be picked up and taken to.
The problem at Paces Brook Apartments is very common to the Midlands, he says.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: email@example.com.
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Real Estate Spotlight
SC HousingFinancing Housing. Building SC. To find out if you qualify or for more information visit schousing.com