Stryker Village Council Stray Cat Issue Addressed By Mayor Hughes

If you’ve googled “Stryker Ohio cat”, you will find a story on the Toledo 13 abc news website regarding such topic. The story alleges that the law enforcement of Stryker has been taking their own approach to the stray cat problem within the village. Specifically, the story alleges that the Stryker police department has trapped, drowned, shot and then disposed of cat carcasses in the Tiffin River.
The story is alleged based on complaints filed from local residents.

The case is being investigated by outside law enforcement, Humane Society and the prosecutor’s office in Bryan. Mayor Hughes updated the council that the case has been turned over to a special prosecutor for review, as per Prosecutor Fisher.
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In Monday evening’s village council meeting, Mayor Dan Hughes offered this official statement:

“To the Residents of Stryker Village:
I believe we need to move forward vigilantly in regards to the current, very public, cat abuse investigation.
Stryker Village is a great little family oriented community with a tremendous amount of positives. Although I can’t comment on specifics of an open investigation, I hope that the village citizens will show some patience and trust that all involved agencies are taking the necessary steps to bring this complaint to an appropriate conclusion.

However, with that said, I would like to clarify several points:

First, whether the allegations are found to be true or false, the current village mayor’s office, nor this village council, ever gave or approved a directive to trap, then shoot or drown stray or feral cats within the village.

Second, at no time during my term as mayor, prior to this incident, has a single local animal control, or rescue agency, contacted me or my office with offers to assist with the village stray or feral cat problem; whether for a fee or otherwise.

Finally, the Village of Stryker has had cat issues in the past, and they have been handled in a humane manner. In no way has this alleged activity been a long term or recurring village solution to stray or feral cats.

Stryker Village has taken the appropriate steps to determine if the allegations have merit, but we are not the judge, jury and executioner. So please, let our justice system take its course and we can then make an informed and educated decision on what level of action is best to resolve current village issues.”

Concerned village resident Bob Hildebrandt approached council asking for an ordinance that would require cats to have a collar, license, name tag and lead chain, due to his concern of the stray problem. Hildebrandt comments that cats have disease, allergies and they are a nuisance to flower beds, seed beds and patio furniture. Hildebrandt addresses to the council that he feels that the person that is feeding the stray cats should be held responsible because “they keep them in town”.

At last month’s meeting, Sgt. Steve Mendez introduced the council to Regan, a 5-year old K-9 German Sheppard that he acquired from a Swanton police officer. Sgt. Mendez has completed the K-9 Handler training, at his own expense, in hopes that Regan will be allowed to be put into service. Private donations are being sought to alleviate any expense that may occur on an already strained budget. Chief Schlosser has advised the council that Cornerstone Critters in Bryan has agreed to provide all food for Regan, as they currently provide food for the Williams County Sheriff K-9 units, Max and Hammer. He also pointed out that Administrator St. John has contacted their insurance company, and there is no additional cost to putting Regan into service.

Sgt. Mendez has also received a ballistic vest, (valued at over $800) from “Kevlar for K-9’s”, a non-profit organization from Denver, CO. Also, the department may be able to acquire an insert for the back of the patrol car for Regan, possibly at no cost.

Currently, there are no plans to place Regan into service at this time, but council voted 4-2 to consider such, contingent upon veterinary services for Regan and the O.P.O.T.A. (Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy) certification.

In other news:

  • A first reading of Ordinance 2013-3: ordinance to remove double time holiday pay for part-time employees
  • Larry Davis invited council to the fire department’s annual pancake & sausage breakfast on May 5 from 6 am-12 noon, to be held at the former T&M building. Cost is free will donation
  • Patrolman Justin Coffman has resigned from the department, and has accepted a position as a Special Deputy with the Williams County Sheriff’s office
  • Council approved $4,800 for repair cost to the Ferro water tower
  • Village Administrator St. John discussed a 5-year plan of compliance and variance with the EPA concerning sewage mercury levels
  • The Stryker Village Council will meet in regular session on May 13th in the Village hall at 6 pm.

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