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Concord Town Meeting defeats measure to control free-roaming cats

Posted by Your Town  April 27, 2012 03:35 PM

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Lydia Lodynsky hasn't lost her fire for promoting "responsible pet ownership" after voters at Concord's Town Meeting shot down her measures aimed at cracking down on free-roaming cats.

But it's up to others to pick up where she left off, Lodynsky said today, offering to "pass along" her research.

“I want to hand it off," said Lodynsky, who had filed three petition articles regarding pets. "It would be a waste if it were not passed on.”

Lodynsky's measure called for temporarily placing loose cats in a shelter and exploring options to confine cats that repeatedly trespass onto neighbors’ yards. Two other proposals, to hire an animal control officer, and to form guidelines for responsible pet ownership, also failed.

She said earlier this week that she submitted the proposals after clashing with neighbors, whose cats killed birds on her property.

Less than a quarter of the roughly 400 attendees raised their hands to support the measure, said Concord Town Clerk Anita Tekle.

“I’ve had a lot of calls and emails from people who said they admired the way I handled the whole situation, and who volunteered to work on a pet ownership committee as an independent article,” Lodynsky said.

Lodynsky pointed to the extensive research she did en route to Town Meeting, including talking with other towns about pet sheltering, and hosting a day-long opportunity to dialogue with her at the Colonial Inn.

“No one came to that,” she said. “I would have liked the chance to debate the opponents.”

She said Town Meeting was a less than ideal venue for debate. “They should have had a forum on these articles and a debate with the opponents beforehand,” said Lodynsky.

“The moderator allowed seven questions, some multi-faceted, and two minutes to answer,” said Lodynsky. “It was impossible to answer in two minutes.”

She has no plans for future Town Meetings at the moment, preferring to “wait to see who steps forward.”

“I am open to new suggestions and ideas, and to sharing my research,” she said.

Lodynsky's concern started three years ago, when she moved to Concord with her mother, who was in the midst of an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Lodynsky said it was nearly impossible to go anywhere with her mother, so she created a respite in her backyard.

“She was blind and noncommunicative, but she did respond to sound,’’ Lodynsky told the Globe earlier this week, “and the sound of birds singing was especially delightful to her, so I tried to embellish it, have it be a place for wildlife and songbirds.’’

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