Rochelle responds to controversial post: No euthanasia, but feral cat traps still available

Courtesy: City of Rochelle (Facebook)
Courtesy: City of Rochelle (Facebook)(WIFR)
Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 12:57 PM CDT
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The city of Rochelle says it will offer free feral cat traps to address a community issue, but will not move forward with euthanasia services as previously stated on Facebook.

In a Facebook post that surfaced around noon on Thursday, the city said feral cat traps would available at the Rochelle Police Department.

The original Facebook post sparked outrage by including these instructions: "Once a feral cat is trapped the city says residents will deliver the trap to the Rochelle Veterinary Clinic for euthanasia and return the empty trap to the police department."

The post was later updated, saying the Rochelle city staff would "research more options immediately to address the issue." It also says the city appreciated the response and would welcome other suggestions.

The Rochelle Veterinary Hospital responded to the post, claiming it would not participate in the program as mentioned in the original post. The hospital says it was not even aware the city had posted it until receiving calls.

Rochelle city manager Jeff Fiegenschuh says there was miscommunication behind the original post.

"I'm really sorry this got out," says Fiegenschuh. "I just want to reassure our residents we are not euthanazing animals, but we have an issue with stray cats, and we want to work together to solve it."

The post sparked hundreds of angry reactions and more than 1,000 comments on Facebook. Some comments questioned whether the city should euthanize the feral cats.

Fiegenschuh confirms Rochelle will not move forward with a euthanasia program and will explore other options immediately. Feral cat traps are still available, but other options are being explored for handling cats after they are caught.

We appreciate the offers received from near and far organizations to assist us in developing a trap, neuter, return...

Posted by City of Rochelle, Illinois - City Hall on Thursday, October 24, 2019