Town Marshal Nancy Gardner's announcement that Camp Verde's Animal Control is getting out of the cat business put some people back on their heels. Keeping things in perspective, however, the town's main animal-control problem is and always has been dogs.
Cats and dogs are not the same. That seems obvious, but it is wise to remember that not all animals have the same behaviors or pose the same threat when out on their own. It's a matter of priority.
To have the Marshal's Office, with its finite resources, concentrating on the dog problem as it hasn't been able to before is a good change. Stray dogs can be a danger to themselves, can be particularly sinister when they are in a pack and they can cause mayhem among people and other animals in a neighborhood.
Yes, a stray cat's scratch can cause infection, and cats can spread diseases with those flea-covered rodents they kill. But one big, bad dog can rip your throat out. That is a real, immediate problem.
There are many issues with dogs in Camp Verde. One issue is careless owners who allow their dogs to roam around town and don't care when or if they return. Another is dogs that are kept confined but abused. Another is uncollared, unlicensed, unvaccinated strays with little human socialization. Another issue is incessantly barking dogs.
That is enough to keep Animal Control busy. And that is the best use of resources.
This is not to say that cat's are not a problem. Among the cat problems, feral cats are the biggest problem. There are pockets of feral cats around Camp Verde. Some people are actually feeding them, which does not do them or the neighbors any favors. If they are passionate about the issue, cat lovers and cat haters alike still have options for dealing with ferals without Animal Control being in the cat business. But solutions can be complicated.
Concentrating on the ever-present dog problems, at least for now, will help solve the most serious problem at hand. The truth about cats and dogs in Camp Verde is that dogs still rule.