The Brick animal activist who spoke out about Stafford police ticketing a resident for feeding feral cats believes that it's spaying and neutering that is the root of the problem.

Wendy Lee Mitchell originally started a petition in protest when she learned of the arrest of 51 year old Mark Rist for feeding a group of feral cats at the end of Cape May Ave in Stafford, already getting a few hundred signatures.

However she feels the underlying problem is that there isn't enough emphasis on spaying and neutering your pets, especially when it comes to abandoned animals. She notes that the problem is becoming an issue especially in shore vacation spots where people adopt kittens temporarily that are left to their own devices when summer homes are abandoned.

The cat's are not spayed or neutered and the result is they reproduce, causing the problem of feral animals.  Mitchell says that if the township spent the money with a neuter and release program rather than the two month investigation of Rist, it would be more beneficial.

"Instead of taking the money from a two month investigation on this guy, they could have taken the money which would have cost them a quarter of what they paid for the investigation and trapped these animals and neutered them. "

Mitchell under stands the concern people have when it comes to the nuisance of these animals, however she feels that the issue doesn't lie with a person sprinkling dry cat food on the street but rather the reason for the cat's being there in the first place.

"The main problem is that a lot of people don't really like, is the fact that a lot of the animals aren't spayed and neutered and the male cats are probably spraying and it's probably stinking up the area. The females are in heat and they're multiplying.

Mitchell doesn't have any specific ideas of how spay/neuter and release programs should be implemented on a township or county level, however she believes the first and foremost thing is to get it done by pet owners.

She also adds that the safety concerns for people of strays is ultimately not as major as it is for the cats.

"Cat's do carry diseases if they're infected it does transport from one cat to the other.  Humans can't get sick from that. Pregnant ladies can get toxic plasmosis but I'm sure that pregnant ladies know to stay away from [feral] cats when they're pregnant. "

Noting that two of the major illnesses, feline leukemia and feline AIDS, only harm other cats and not humans, so while the cat's are alive they are less of a danger.