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Cat poisonings being investigated

BUCKEYE LAKE – The Buckeye Lake Police Department is working with the Licking County Humane Society to investigate several cat poisonings in Leisure Village, Buckeye Lake Mayor Clay Carroll said Monday night.

“I’m not just going to sit in silence,” said BARK Animal Rescue activist Bonnie Mansfield, stating that eight cats were poisoned in the Leisure Village trailer park. “We deserve answers,” she said. “What are we going to do? (The village) won’t do anything until a child is hurt.”

Council president Jeryne Peterson said the cat situation is “tragic.” She agreed that whoever is poisoning the cats could inadvertently poison children as well. Peterson said the humane society is aware of the problem and is working with the village to end the poisonings.

Mansfield said someone should arrange for one of the poisoned cats to be autopsied and confirm the poison. “That could turn into a much more serious problem for people,” she said. “A lot of people think, ‘It’s just a cat,’” not realizing there are laws against animal cruelty. “This has been going on since Mother’s Day,” said Mansfield. She said people shouldn’t hesitate to call police if they witness animal cruelty incidents.

Buckeye Lake Police Sergeant Andy Davis said he hasn’t heard of a report of a cat poisoning since May 31. “Obviously, we’re still looking into it,” he said. Davis said he’s been “knocking on doors, talking to people” and looking around trailers for evidence and information.

While there are currently no suspects, he said the poisoning stopped when police began investigating. He said he’s working with humane agent Paula Evans. “She’s been very, very helpful,” said Davis, adding that Petplex and Refugee Canyon veterinarians have been very helpful as well. He said both veterinarians are ready to help if there’s another poisoning incident and they’re ready to do autopsies if necessary and possible. “I honestly don’t think there was a cat we could’ve saved,” said Davis. He said the poisoned cats died very shortly after the incidents were reported.

In other council news:

• Carroll said the village will begin enforcing laws concerning “under speed vehicles”-namely golf carts. He said golf carts can’t travel on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or higher, including Hebron Road (Ohio 79) in the village. Golf carts are also not allowed on public sidewalks or walking paths, and they must be registered with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, like any car or motorcycle.

Carroll said the village will try to educate golf cart owners about the laws before police begin citing golf cart violations. “There are no public meetings planned at this time but the regulations will be circulated to the council members and posted for public viewing,” he said. “I don’t expect any citations to be issued until the public has had an adequate chance to get familiar with regulations.”

He said some of the more important regulations include an inspection by the police department that must be taken to BMV for registration and tags and the operating prohibition on any roadway with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or more, or on sidewalks or pedestrian walk paths. Owners may check with the police department for the inspection requirements.

As a comparison, the Village of Granville, which has a popular golf course near its downtown, has no golf cart ordinance. “The normal traffic laws apply,” said Granville Police Chief Jim Mason. He said no unlicensed golf carts are authorized on the roadway, with a few exceptions. They can cross a roadway to go from one portion of the golf course to another, and they can operate on a closed roadway in an area where there is a permit for private use (parades and such). “We usually give warnings to operators who stray onto the roadway,” said Mason. “We do not have an inspection program for golf carts (Granville requires them to be titled and licensed) but I believe the sheriff’s office will be doing this for communities that have golf cart ordinances.” He said operators of licensed golf carts must follow state and local laws.

Golf cart legislation is available on the Village of Buckeye Lake web site.

• Council member and public service committee chair Arletta Ruton said committee members are discussing possible legal action against M•E Companies and Chemcote – the engineer and contractor, respectively, who resurfaced village streets following installation of the public water distribution system. Some people believe the contract for the work was not followed properly and Buckeye Lake’s street began falling apart shortly after the resurfacing.

According to a committee report, committee members will review the specifications for the work. Chemcote has since gone out of business. The issue is whether the contract was followed; some members believed it was not. Committee members decided to take the following actions: Invite former mayor Frank Foster (who was mayor when the water system was installed), street supervisor Mark Dymek, and water supervisor Toby Miller to a future public service committee meeting to answer questions regarding the contract; provide committee members with a copy of the contract; and investigate the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.

• Resident Judy Allen said she’s attended council meetings as a concerned citizen for years and she feels bad that council members won’t answer questions immediately when citizens ask them during the citizens’ comment period. “Why do it?” she said.

Allen asked if resident Jackie Sluder received an answer to her questions at the May 27 council meeting about an unkempt property. Carroll said he’d left several messages for Sluder after the meeting, but as of Monday she hadn’t returned his calls.

• Council member Peggy Wells said she was concerned that ordinances and resolutions are not consistently being referred to council committees as council’s rules require. Specifically, she said the finance committee did not discuss two levies that will be placed on the November ballot. Wells said all levies, even renewals, should pass through committee in case committee members want to impose any changes. “I’m not challenging the levies,” she said, but council is inconsistently following its own rules. “These are your procedures, you’re just not following them,” said Wells.

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