Marathon County cuts stray cat funding in new contractSubmitted: 10/17/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter

WAUSAU - Marathon County will stop funding stray cat care at the non-profit Humane Society of Marathon County.

Humane Society Board President Linda Berna-Karger says payments from the county over the past few years weren't large enough to cover costs.

"We could no longer provide the service that we were for the number of animals we were taking in with the compensation that was coming from the county," Berna-Karger said.

So the humane society asked the county to pay a bit more. On Tuesday the county board unanimously voted no. State law requires the county to cover costs for stray dogs, but not cats.

The county will now pay to only quarantine cats that bite people. Berna-Karger says the obligation will shift to towns and municipalities.

"That will be up to each individual municipality to decide what they're
going to do there," Berna-Karger said.

Under the new contract, the county will offer some money to towns and municipalities to help pay for stray cat service over the next two years. The county will cut all assistance by 2016. That contract begins Jan. 1, 2014.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple says the move puts a burden on towns.

"It's kind of a balancing act problem and it's not a problem in the country, but it's certainly a problem in the metro area," Tipple said. "We're going to have to come up with some funding to bridge that gap."

Berna-Karger says cats will still be allowed at the society. They won't deal with stray cats found by people or police unless an agreement is met with municipalities.

"We will continue to accept cats from people that own a cat and find out that they can no longer keep that animal," Berna-Karger said.

The Humane Society of Marathon County is currently taking care of 166 cats.

Newswatch 12 reached out to Marathon County Board Chairman Gary Wyman for comment. He did not respond to a voice mail for a request to comment.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

+ Read More

MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

+ Read More

NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

+ Read More

VILAS COUNTY - In July, Karen Wessel gave her life to save a boy from drowning in Vilas County's Star Lake.  Now she is being recognized for her heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Wessel as one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie medal.  It's presented to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while trying to save the life of another.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here