MASSENA -- Massena Town Supervisor Joseph Gray says he was misquoted by the Watertown Daily Times in a recent interview regarding over population of cats in Massena.
Gray said the issues were minor, but felt it necessary to clarify his statement after a blog posted by editor Jeffrey Savitskie bashed him for comments he said he never made.
In his blog "All That Jas" Savitskie said Gray was making assumptions that cats in Massena were feral.
"Mr. Gray came to the conclusion that there is a serious feral cat problem in Massena based on the observation that he sees an average of three a night when he takes his dog for a car ride," Savitskie said in his blog. "How’s that for science? He sees three a night. Somehow he determines they are wild. Conclusion: We got a problem, Massena," the blog continued.
Gray said he never referred to the stray or wandering cats as feral. He said that assumption was made by reporter Tim Fenster.
"In my conversation with reporter Tim Fenster, we discussed feral cats as well as the exploding cat population in the Town of Massena and other rural communities. In that discussion, I mentioned that I see cats roaming around town each night when I take my elderly dog for car ride. I never said, nor do I believe, that the cats I see are feral. Mr. Fenster made that assumption - an honest mistake; no harm, no foul. I also said the wild cats have a “miserable life” not a “measurable life,” but again a minor error," Gray said in his letter.
The controversy stemmed from an article written by Fenster, which highlights a statement made by Gray that Massena's stray cats should not be fed by community members.
In a letter sent to North Country Now, Gray did not dispute that statement.
"Obviously I made a poor choice when I said we should let those same cats starve rather than feed them," he said.
Although Gray acknowledged the statement was "poor," he said no one has presented a sound alternative.
"Others, including Mr. Savitskie, have called me cruel, but they offer no alternative. One person criticized my stance but recommended we round up the cats and euthanize them. I would have no problem with that solution either, but I won’t use taxpayers’ monies to pay for it," Gray said in his letter.
Gray's letter can be found here.
Savitiskie's blog can be found here.
Tim Fenster's story can be found here.