Mayor Marylou Powers has a secret stash she keeps in her trunk. In the area where most store a spare tire or gym bag, the self-proclaimed animal lover keeps two cat traps, a collage of dog leashes and fresh water.
Whenever the Galt mayor sees a stray cat or dog running loose, she stops her car to check its tags. If there is no identification, Powers will often load the animal into her car and take it to get spayed or neutered.
It comes as no surprise that if she could have any job in the world, Powers said it would be an animal rescuer.
In recent months, she’s been going to the Jaycee Hall day and night searching for a family of cats she’s certain live in the abandoned building’s shell.
The Galt City Council has approved demolishing the structure — but not before finding homes for any strays, a provision Powers ensured by garnering council support with a vote last month.
The city’s current goal is to complete the demolition work prior to June 30. Part of that will be to develop a cat rescue plan, Public Works Director Steven Winkler said.
In the meantime, a neighbor has been helping the mayor catch feral cats at the site and find homes for the kittens; now they are looking for the tom cat.
“If we catch him, we’ll have fixed the problem,” Powers said with a laugh.
Before she was elected to the city council, Powers made it her personal mission to have as many dogs and cats as possible spayed and neutered with donated money.
“The good news is I helped the animals,” she said.
When her employer, South County Services, moved locations from its former site near Estrellita High School, she took up the effort once again when strays were left.
She takes most of the animals to ACT Spay/Neuter Clinic in Stockton. With surgeries and rabies shots for as low as $30, it is San Joaquin County’s only nonprofit low-cost clinic.
Since July 2009, the organization estimates it has performed more than 18,000 spay and neuter surgeries, according to its website.
Powers personally owns three cats and two rescue dogs.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.