Cat Fight

A shelter loses its funding, its low-cost rental space, and even some cats, which have reportedly been put down at other shelters. But the biggest problem facing Miss Kitty's Cat House is Minneapolis's zoning code.

GIVEN THE WAY things have been going lately for the privately run cat shelter, Miss Kitty's Cat House had better have nine lives. Rainwater is leaking into the kitten room at 322 E. Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis, the rent is going up from $850 to $1,200 month, and the shelter lost its main source of funding. Even as Feline Rescue, Inc.--which cares for upwards of 100 cats at a time, many of them ill, elderly, or abused strays--is scrambling to locate a new home, volunteers are getting reports that some cats recently moved out of the house have been put down.

In Minneapolis, the shelter can move only to a commercial rental carrying a "BC3" zoning designation. And those, shelter volunteers contend, seem to be a few specks on the zoning map where cat-friendly landlords are rare. Zoning officials have told Feline Rescue it won't encounter restrictions if it settles into industrial property, but the cat fanciers say setting up in windowless bunkers will keep its homeless kitties out of the sight of potential adopters. Volunteers have a potential site in St. Paul. The owners like cats, it's close to a pet supply store, and its zoning allows a vet clinic, if not specifically a cat shelter. Feline Rescue is pumping city officials about whether it has a shot at getting a special-use permit before it plunks down the $500 nonrefundable application fee.

Even if the new digs work out, however, Feline Rescue fears that a number of its charges may not make the move. Miss Kitty's was originally a project of the Animal Relief Fund, which last spring voted to shut down the shelter by the end of August so it could use its resources to strengthen its home-based shelter network. Shelter volunteers banded together as Feline Rescue, Inc., and vowed to keep Miss Kitty's open. Cats taken in before April are the property of ARF, and the rest are the responsibility of Feline Rescue. ARF board members have been removing cats from Miss Kitty's ever since the decision to close the shelter was made. Reportedly, several cats which were removed to other shelters have been put down for being "untamable." At Miss Kitty's, which was set up because there was no other shelter where cats aren't euthanized, they are labeled "painfully shy." Shelter volunteers are seeking a restraining order in Hennepin County District Court Thursday morning, after which "Concerned Animal Relief Fund Members" say they plan to take ARF to court.

STADIUM AID

MINNEAPOLIS IS ABOUT to commit to spending upwards of $10 million for Carl Pohlad's new stadium. A resolution endorsing Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton's "Riverfront Ballpark Blueprint" passed the City Council's Intergovernmental Relations Committee Tuesday and is headed for a full Council vote Friday.

The blueprint sets out estimated costs for a smaller and a larger version of the proposed ballpark site off Washington Avenue. For the larger version, the city would have to donate some $1.8 million worth of land, while Hennepin County and the Park Board would kick in $2.8 million and $1.5 million worth, respectively. The city would also spend some $8.6 million to prepare the site, and up to $36 million for "additional infrastructure costs for which financing is yet to be determined"--things like landscaping and road improvements. With nine of 13 City Council members sponsoring the resolution, passage in Friday's Council meeting seems almost guaranteed. Still, Council renegades including Jim Niland (6th Ward) and Dore Mead (11th Ward) are calling for a public hearing before the city makes any commitment.

Meanwhile, Niland has rechristened a previously scheduled campaign fundraiser at his Whittier house Saturday as "Stadium Aid." "Hubert H. Humphrey once said that without pro sports, we'd be a cold Omaha," the invitation reasons. "With a stadium, we could be a broke Omaha... If St. Paul gets the LeRoy Neiman Museum, they'll be a cold Omaha with bad taste. Now if Minneapolis got the Neiman Museum, we'd be a cold Omaha with bad taste and a night life, but no hockey. The solution is obvious. Build a stadium and a hockey arena and send LeRoy Neiman to Omaha."

PUBLIC DOMAIN

This week in history:

YOUNGSTERS HOLD HOBO PARTY

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS youngsters will go "on the bum" today for the annual Gypsy-Hobo day at Columbia Heights park. They will eat mulligan stew from tin cups and search for treasure during the program beginning at 4 p.m. Shanties built by the youngsters during the week will be judged and then torn down for a bonfire.

--Minneapolis Tribune, August 7, 1949

FIGHT OVER CARD GAME LEADS TO SHOOTING; 2 HELD

HERBERT BROCK, 26, 1008 Emerson Ave. N., Charles R. Bradley, 24, 808 Third Ave. S., and some friends were playing poker Saturday evening in an alley at Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue North. Bradley checked, then raised. Brock kicked Bradley, but the other players broke it up before the fight really got started. About an hour later, Brock was sitting at home, when Bradley's face showed up in a kitchen window behind the sights of a pearl-handled .38 revolver. Bradley fired four times before someone called the police. "I'm an expert shot," Bradley said as he and Brock were booked at headquarters. "I don't understand how come I missed."

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