Surfside Beach town council not on board with feral cat program - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Surfside Beach town council not on board with feral cat program

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With a rat problem on hand, Surfside Beach town council members spent Thursday afternoon digging into one possible solution.

That idea involves using feral cats, something Myrtle Beach used successfully nearly 20 years ago.

It was a local solution to a local problem, explained Vicki Blair, as she presented to council.

Blair was on that project in Myrtle Beach and is now suggesting it for Surfside Beach's problems.

She says the city let the cats loose for five years, and says it greatly curbed the amount of rats running around Myrtle Beach streets.

Each cat was tagged and fixed, which made sure that population didn't spring up either.

While Surfside Beach officials listened to her insight, not everyone thought this small problem needed this big of a solution.

"These are isolated events, and no matter what we do, by golly, rodents survive, said Mayor, Doug Samples.

"Just because you have a few now, doesn't mean you're not going to have a problem, rebutted Blair.

Mayor Doug Samples told the crowd he believes the rat problem is really a trash problem. He says the city has changed how it handles trash, so cats may not be needed.

"It might manage the problem, but I think it's probably short-term, said Karen McGranahan.

McGranahan works with Bikini Beach Cat Rescue, and doesn't buy it.

She thinks the feral cat plan should get more consideration, because cats are a time-tested solution to any rat problem.

"I think they haven't looked into it as deeply as they could, but it is a viable solution,
She said.

Others in attendance say they just want this whole discussion to be over. They worry the town is letting a few small incidents give it a reputation it doesn't deserve.

Mayor Samples says he won't put this issue on a council agenda soon, but that decision is ultimately up to council.

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