City Councilor Jim Motznik was arguing so passionately at council's May 17 standing-committees meeting last week that you'd swear he was actually discussing something important.
He used a stern tone and wore an earnest look when he talked about the importance of ... licensing cats.
"You're discriminating against dogs," said a stone-faced Motznik, after learning that cats didn't have to be licensed. "We do get complaints about roaming cats on other people's property."
John Artman, supervisor of the city's Animal Control office, hadn't even come to council about cats. He was there to talk about changing the city's ordinance regarding the adoption or disposal of stray dogs, cats and wild animals. The city requires the animals be held for three days, while state law requires a two-day hold. Artman says that often, the animals are sick or injured, and keeping them alive an extra day can be inhumane. The measure was unanimously approved. North Side Councilor Darlene Harris said she was "an animal lover" and voted no.
But that was after Motznik got into a verbal tiff with Councilor Doug Shields, who tried to explain why cat-licensing legislation failed when it was proposed about 15 years ago.
"There's an issue relating to the safety of the animals because of the way they behave," Shields reported. "They don't move like dogs. They run through fences and there's a danger of the cats choking if their collars get caught."
Motznik interrupted: "Well, there's a problem with stray cats. I'll bring a resolution forward to start licensing cats because there's no way a roaming cat should be on someone else's property, damaging that property.
"You have to be responsible for your pets and it's ridiculous that they're [not licensed]."
Replied Shields: "Mr. Motznik, it didn't require a response. I'm just giving you the information. If you want to go license the cats, go ahead. Good luck ... Good luck."