Councilman faults cost of killing his cat

ANCRAM–Councilman John MacArthur wanted more specific information about several bills before he signed off on them for payment during the August 20 Town Board meeting. In one case, a bill to euthanize an injured feral cat didn’t seem to sit well with him. But as it turned out, he was the one who called the animal control officer to deal with the animal in the first place.

After questioning his brother, Highway Superintendent James MacArthur, about bills for a machine part and a First Aid kit, Councilman MacArthur asked for the name of the person the town deals with for insurance coverage.

The councilman then moved on to questioning vouchers for mileage reimbursements, including those from Town Supervisor Thomas Dias. “How do I know you’re putting down the proper mileage?” the councilman asked. He wanted to see a mileage log to verify the claims for reimbursement.

Another voucher for monthly mileage reimbursement that came under scrutiny was submitted by Town Animal Control Officer Gary Deitch, whose travels on town business included a 15-mile trip to pick up an injured cat. Mr. Deitch took the cat to the vet, who determined that the animal had a broken back and should be put down. Mr. Deitch also submitted a $40 bill for the subsequent euthanasia by the vet.

After questioning the bill, Councilman MacArthur talked about the cat Mr. Deitch had taken to the vet. He said it was a feral that showed up at the golf course where the councilman is the superintendent of grounds.

Recognizing the benefit of having a cat to stem the rising tide of troublesome chipmunks, the councilman said he started feeding the animal.  Sometime later, he said noticed that the cat was “dragging its butt around.”

The councilman said he did not know what had happened to the cat or what was wrong with it, but he did know he didn’t want to touch it, so he called the animal control officer, who came and removed it.

Continuing to complain about the resulting costs to the town, Councilman MacArthur said he should have taken out a .22 and shot the cat.

“Why the hell didn’t you?” asked Councilman James Miller.

The question went unanswered because Highway Superintendent MacArthur interrupted, calling the board’s attention to another matter.

Then, as if to remind councilmen they were speaking at a public meeting, the highway boss loudly asked the reporter sitting next to him if she had gotten all that had been said about the cat down in her notes. She said she had.

To contact Diane Valden email


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