Chincoteague Group Seeks ‘Compassionate Solution’ for Feral Cats

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By Linda Cicoira — An island group is out to prove famous cat lover Ernest Hemingway wrong. 

“One cat just leads to another,” the Nobel laureate writer once said.

But that’s not the case on Chincoteague where 129 feral cats were trapped, spayed, and neutered recently and then returned to the wild. They won’t be multiplying thanks to the organization Chincoteague Island Community Cats.

Fifty-three kittens were also taken to rescue groups, Julie Brommer, a spokesperson for the group, told the Chincoteague Town Council and mayor Monday night.  Another 19 cats were revaccinated for rabies and distemper. “Our goal is with compassionate solutions for island cats,” she said.

“It’s no secret that we have a cat exposure on Chincoteague,” said Councilwoman Denise Bowden. “I appreciate it, being an animal lover myself. Thank you very much,” she added.

Town Manager Jim West reported the construction of a granulated activated charcoal filter system will begin to remove PFAS from the town’s shallow wells. The completion date is Nov. 30. That work “interferes with our plans to work on the high-rise water tower,” West said. “We needed the water from the shallow wells as part of our work around for the tank. I also heard from a NASA representative that proposed language to allow the use of NASA appropriations for remedial work and reimbursement to the town has been submitted to Congress,” he said.

“The Virginia Institute of Marine Science “completed their work on Chincoteague toward piecing together a geologic history of our barrier island and Assateague to better predict the future of island movement around the inlet,” West said. He did not report the results.

The town staff has been able to be better focused on delinquent tax collections since it is no longer busy distributing vehicle stickers. He said collections are up for the taxes on meals, transient occupancy, real estate, and personal property. “Business license compliance is also improving.” 

Eighty-five building permits were issued recently for a total of $1,289,667 in construction costs. Permit fees totaled $5,684 and $400 in fines were received. 

If you wonder what the town’s public works department does, here are some of the things that happened in June: completed remodeling of the Memorial Park restrooms; continued restroom construction at Curtis Merritt Harbor; completed Main Street storm water inlet repairs; spot painted the LOVE chairs; mowed several residential lawns that were in violation of the town’s grass height code; removed litter from Fowling Gut at Ocean Boulevard trail bridge; removed fallen tree from Reynolds’ cemetery; trimmed trees on several private roads to facilitate solid waste removal; performed routine equipment, park, and office complex maintenance; conducted facilities and roadside mowing operations; mowed designated cemeteries; completed regularly scheduled bulk trash collection; conducted routine pavement repair, street sweeping, and traffic control maintenance; continued mosquito control operations; installed radio read potable/fire protection at USCG Field Sector Chincoteague; replaced a failed water main valve at the intersection of Main Street and Doe Bay Lane; and performed routine water supply, distribution, and repair. 

The town’s emergency management division is monitoring the weather daily for hurricane season. It was reported that National Weather Service forecasters predict a 70% likelihood of nine to 15 named storms, of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes of category 3, 4, or 5. The NWS will update the 2019 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the hurricane season.