Grandinetti’s Cat-Hating Law Again Shot Down by City Council

Kristen Grandinetti is determined to get stray cats and the people who feed them under control.

Kristen Grandinetti is determined to get stray cats and the people who feed them under control.

A visibly agitated Niagara Falls City Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti watched helplessly this week as her colleagues tabled her controversial anti-cat legislation for the third time, despite what she claimed were draconian efforts on her part to make the proposed law more acceptable.
Grandinetti wants to criminalize the act of feeding a stray cat, something most right minded people think of as a humanitarian gesture. It would also subject owners of cats that dig in neighbors’ gardens or rifle through carbage cans to criminal prosecution. She has tried and failed repeatedly since April to gain approval for her measure.
When first introduced, Grandinetti’s law stirred public outcry and, according to her, resulted in threats of violence against her.
Grandinetti filed a police report over harassing messages that encouraged her to “drown your children” and “kill yourself,” delivered both through Facebook and to her personal email account.
The violent remarks directed at Grandinetti were delivered by individuals digitally, and it is uncertain who the distributor, or distributors, of the messages were. According to the report filed with the Niagara Falls Police Department, Grandinetti claimed “aggravated harassment.”
“I would like to see you drugged and (urinated) on,” one message said.
“Do us a favor and kill yourself,” read another.
One of the more moderate critics was Amy Lewis, director of the SPCA of Niagara. In her submission to her Council colleagues this week, Grandinetti claimed to have worked closely with Lewis on the amended version, and that Lewis had signed off on the result.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
In her own letter to the Council, Lewis said she objected to the definition of those who take care of cats as “owners” in Grandinetti’s legislation.
“Community cat caretakers are not owners. They take care of TNVR and cats that were allowed to stray and breed by other city residents,” Lewis wrote.
Councilman Ken Tompkins, who raised $2,500 earlier this month to support a fundraising effort to trap, neuter, vaccinate and release (TNVR) stray and feral cats, said he wants to see the element of criminalization taken out of Grandinetti’s proposed ordinance.
“Why are we making this a criminal matter? This is a civil matter. A neighbor’s cat dug up your rose bush? If he won’t pay sue him in small claims court and get your fifty bucks.”
Earlier this month, when her law was shot down for the second time by the Council, Grandinetti shook her head in disbelief.
“I don’t understand the hesitation,” Grandinetti said in a fit of pique. “We went over all the language… We reached out to the community… We have spent three weeks, (Corporation Counsel Craig) Johnson and I, on getting this together, and I just don’t understand the hesitation.”
Prior to this week’s Council meeting, Grandinetti said that if her feline unfriendly law failed to pass, she wouldn’t bring it up again. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

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