I have a problem with cats that the irresponsible people dumped years ago.

After 28 years of being in business in the Commercial Shopping Center in Havelock and paying rent on two of the shops for at least 15, I have a problem with cats that the irresponsible people dumped years ago.

They had been neutered/spayed and had shots over the years, and I fed them two times a day. We had a Kritter Rescue Squad for a couple of years, but over the years, people drifted off and I ended up feeding the 10 cats that were remaining.

Animal control began to trap them, and a big thanks to Danny and Ginny Walsh (the biggest animal lovers), I was notified. The "law" was that they would be transported to New Bern and killed because they were feral. Again thanks to Mayor (Jimmy) Sanders, the city manager was told to put a hold on them until the commissioners could have a meeting and decide how to handle this situation.

The 20 people who came to the meeting in support were told first thing that no one in the audience would be allowed to speak. Next they sat through two-plus hours of talks of hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on a playground outside of city limits and millions on a new city hall.

Our time came up for the next 5 to 10 minutes where the cost of rescuing the cats would be almost $700 for trapping and boarding six cats for a week. Again Commissioner Walsh was the only one who thought maybe that law should be looked at and modified. The idea that saving and taking care of the dumped cats for years was that I would be fined over $700 was devastating. The mayor turned it over to the city manager and he managed to get my cost down to $360 plus the $100 for shots that Commissioner (Jim) Stuart demanded be enforced.

The happy ending is that friends have contributed to the cause (a big thanks) the cats are safe in a wired-in shelter that has taken us money and lots of time for really old people to build. Now I can sleep nights and stop crying knowing the cats donít have to be killed.

Barbara Whiteman, Havelock