The village of Stryker is looking for people to fill four empty council seats at the start of the year, and if candidates have an idea of how to deal with the stray cat problem, the village would likely appreciate it.

Four council seats were up for election this year, though no one filed a petition to actually run for the positions on the ballot or as a write-in.

“I don’t know if you guys have been asked about this. The way it was exactly worded was ‘What the heck is going on?’ Quite honestly, we missed it,” Mayor Joey Beck said during the council’s meeting last week. “That kind of snuck up on us.”

Some people have already submitted letters of interest and Beck said they had until December to deliver them in person or they can be postmarked no later than Nov. 30.

With only two people on council at the beginning of January, he was unsure what the process was going to look like to appoint them.

Separately, Councilman Sam Farmer asked if the village would be able to hire a cat catcher as “there are a lot of stray cats.”

Beck said he believed if people start feeding cats then it becomes their animal, something Police Chief Steve Schlosser disputed to a degree.

“Council had an opportunity back when my fiasco happened to right a wrong and it never happened,” Schlosser said, “because I can’t find anywhere in my green book that says if you feed it you own it. I’m saying within the (Ohio Revised Code) it may say that but ... our village ordinances have nothing.”

Schlosser was suspended for two weeks in 2013 after he pleaded no contest to a charge of illegal treatment of a companion animal stemming from allegations he and his officers had needlessly killed cats found around the village.

“ ... We have absolutely no backing in our village ordinances to do anything about it,” Schlosser said last Monday.

Beck said stray cats can be trapped and turned over to a humane society, but that costs money and Schlosser said no humane society in the area is currently accepting stray cats.

Another option Beck read about is that spaying or neutering a stray cat and then releasing them can help, as if the cat just disappears another one would take its place. Putting a cat back after neutering them allows them to keep their territory, helping the situation in the long term.

“Yes, we have dealt with cats for a while,” he said. “What the answer is I can’t tell you.”

In other business:

• Council was told the town’s fifth annual tree lighting ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Beck said the third annual Christmas decorating contest will happen this year with the top three winners receiving an award. The contest is open to anyone in the Stryker Local School District, but they have to let the village know they are participated by Dec. 6.

• Council accepted the resignation of Solicitor Katie Rakes.

• Beck said the new village electronic sign was in, though it would take some time for them to learn everything they can do with it.

• Village Administrator Alan Riegsecker said leaf pickup will last until Dec. 1 and said leaves should be off the street.

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