Cats at Lane County landfill raise concerns

Lane County Public Works Director Daniel Hurley said it is their policy not to rescue cats at the landfill.

Posted: Jul 9, 2019 6:52 PM
Updated: Jul 9, 2019 7:23 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cat lovers are hoping animal rescuers can help cats at the Short Mountain Landfill by trapping, fixing and releasing them. The call to action comes after county leaders investigated reports of animal abuse at the landfill when concerned residents came forward claiming staff members were intentionally killing cats.

Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said the accusations were unfounded and the complainant did not provide specific examples or any actionable information.

In an email to concerned residents, Lane County Public Works Director Daniel Hurley said it is their policy not to rescue cats. He said cats are an ongoing issue at many solid waste locations because they jump into dumpsters, get transported to a transfer station or landfill and then they breed and produce more cats.

Hurley said for safety reasons they do not want their employees trying to save cats in the waste while heavy equipment is moving around.

Jenetta Overholser with the Cottage Grove Humane Society said she hopes animal rescuers can team up with the county to trap the cats so they can be spayed or neutered and relocated.

"I understand safety is a grave concern for everyone, but I'm sure there are ways to make it safe for everyone," Overholser said. "I'm sure there's ways for everyone and we can at least gets the cats out of there, spayed and neutered."

Hurley said they have a small staff that is tasked with disposing of over 600 tons of waste on a daily basis. He said when employees have rescued litters of kittens in the past it caused significant disruption in the office and they do not have facilities to properly house the cats.

He said they do have a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for wildlife control services that includes the killing of rodents and birds, which is required by their permit since the landfill is close the Creswell Airport.

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