Niagara Gazette

December 4, 2013

Stray animals a topic for Wheatfield board

By Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

Town board members heard concerns this week about an ongoing issue with stray animals in the community. 

During the public input session at Monday’s town board meeting, a representative from a local animal care group asked what, if anything, could be done to shelter and care for stray animals, especially cats. 

Shirley Carter, of Niagara Feline Friends, shared the story of an injured cat that the SPCA of Niagara was not able to pick up. 

Town officials acknowledged the concern which has been voiced by SPCA officials in recent weeks who have described the animal shelter on Lockport Road as being overwhelmed by stray animals in need of homes. 

“(Shelters) don’t have room enough, they need all the help they can get,” said Supervisor Robert Cliffe. “I wish I had an easy answer. I think trap, neuter, release is the ultimate answer, but it doesn’t happen over night.”

Town officials are expected to discuss the issue in greater detail during their next meeting, Dec. 16. At that time, the board plans to discuss the renewal of a contract with the SPCA of Niagara involving dog control and harboring.

In other matters, the board:

• Received a report from Councilman Larry Helwig who announced that the town had been hit with a destructive computer virus. The virus was caught early and the issue was easily resolved, Helwig said. Had it been caught later, the damage could have been irreversible, according to Helwig.

“The computer gets infected from opening up emails,” Helwig said. “When this hits, it locks all the files on your computer. We caught it early enough that it had just started to do damage.”

The source of the virus is expected to be from overseas, likely in Romania, where the creators put a hold on computer servers in exchange for ransom money, Helwig said.

• Scheduled a public hearing for 7:15 p.m., Jan. 27, at town hall to discuss a proposed amendment to the town’s zoning code. The amendment would mean the density calculation for PUD zones would have to be in accordance with the density of the underlying zoning district the land is located on.

• Acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Niagara County Department of Health that complimented Rich Donner and other workers in the town’s water and sewer department for their high quality of work. 

• Heard an update from Mike Ranoli, deputy director of the recreation department, on events planned for the holiday season. The town’s Christmas tree lighting and holiday party will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. On Dec. 12, the town will hold its senior luncheon and on Dec. 14 will be the town’s senior dance. Ranoli said his department will hold a December break camp for kids at the youth center on Dec. 23 and 24 and Dec. 30 and 31.

The Wheatfield Town Board will hold its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 at town hall, 2800 Church Road, North Tonawanda.