Activists demand EWEB round up cats the utility says don't exist

EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene Water and Electric Board staff captured and removed 9 wild cats from the 50-acre Roosevelt Operations Center property in West Eugene last year.

Employees had voluntarily started feeding the cats by leaving food outside.

But EWEB managers decided to bar employees from leaving food for the cats after other wild animals started taking advantage of the free meal, too.

"If they are presented with food, they will stay around," said Lance Robertson with EWEB. "So our plan is to not put food out for cats. What we're trying to do is repopulate this site with native wildlife."

Once the food was taken away, Robertson said the feral cats dispersed.

"We really haven't seen really any activity out here," he said.

But Tamara Barnes with a group called No Kill Lane County said in a statement to KVAL News that "despite management claims, current EWEB employees have reported that the unaltered cats are still there. We are very concerned about the unaltered cats breeding. We have a petition asking EWEB to allow the cats to be humanely trapped and removed."

Robertson said EWEB employees check the property twice daily for cats.

So far, no cats.

"Even during the morning and in the evening when cats tend to be a little more active, and we really, we really haven't seen any," he said.