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Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

New rule: No cats at airport

Friday, August 24, 2012

A recent decision to move the feline population at Shelbyville's airport has several T-G readers upset, but officials say there was a good reason for the move.

T-G blogger Steve Mills said he occasionally stops by the city's airport and "while there I love the down-home feeling of having a few of their friendly cats stop by to say hello."

"What a shock when I went there yesterday and could not find one," Mills wrote.

Negative calls

City manager Jay Johnson explained to the T-G that he had "received numerous comments about the cats at the airport in a negative manner."

"Many, many of the users of the airport did not feel they were reflective of a professional image in a business workplace," Johnson said.

But the Bell Buckle blogger said "(e)xcuse me? It reflected a personal, friendly, welcoming image. A perfect example of the warm welcoming, southern town."

'Unique' feature

Johnson said he made the decision based on the feedback he received and what he personally observed at the airport.

He said he spoke to airport manager Hank Williamson on the topic a month ago, and told him it was in the best interest of the city "to find other homes for the cats."

"They had been there a long time, they were a unique feature and I know some people liked them, but I thought it was time we did something different," the city manager said.

New homes

Mills' blog post brought agreement from a number of anonymous readers that the cats should have been allowed to stay, but Johnson said it was his understanding that new homes have been found for the felines since that time.

"You don't have cats at the Times-Gazette offices, we don't have cats in city hall, you don't have cats in a bank," Johnson said. "Was it unique? Yes. Did some people like it? Yes. Was it one of those things I got a lot of negative calls on? Yes."

Johnson said that the city wants a friendly, open atmosphere at city hall, but he also wants a professional atmosphere as well, and that applies to all of Shelbyville's facilities.