Hoping to end the controversy over the "Cat Man of Santa Ana," the City Council has asked that a law be drawn up limiting the number of pets permitted in Santa Ana homes.
The action came in response to complaints by the neighbors of Michael Fedoruk; they said the smell, droppings and clawed patio furniture resulting from the horde of cats in his home--estimated to range from 35 to 50 animals--are fouling homes on Townley Street.
Councilman John Acosta said he visited the neighborhood Saturday and concluded that Fedoruk's feline entourage constitutes a public nuisance. He said the worst manifestations of the problem are the two litter boxes on Fedoruk's front lawn.
'The Smell, the Flies'
"It was sickening--the smell, the flies. You talk about health problems. You've got 'em," Acosta said. "I would not want to live next door to Mr. Fedoruk."
Acosta's motion late Monday night, directing City Atty. Edward J. Cooper to draw up a proposed ordinance limiting the number of animals in city homes, was seconded by Vice Mayor P. Lee Johnson.
"As the author of the rooster ordinance (limiting the number of roosters), I have no problem with that," Johnson said.
The issue sparked a passionate debate during the Monday night meeting. Fedoruk, who gladly accepts the Cat Man sobriquet, said his cats do not pose any health problem and in fact kill mice in the neighborhood.
He contends that the root of the problem is John Kish, a neighbor who, he said, "hates cats" and obtained 75 signatures on a petition submitted to the city protesting the situation. Fedoruk added that Kish is himself breaking the law by selling flowers and lemons out of his home.
'A People Problem'
One Cat Man supporter criticized Kish, saying the problem is "not a cat problem but a people problem," arguing that people allow cats to procreate at a rapid rate and then cast out the offspring.
Resident Charles Nash said, for example, that he had no cats when he moved into an apartment three years ago but now has about 20 because other apartment dwellers simply left their cats behind when they moved.
However, several residents said they cannot take the smell from Fedoruk's home any longer. Some argued that it has become embarrassing for them to invite friends over. Others said they didn't consider it "normal" for a man to live with 35 cats.
"I just want a law and I'll be happy," Kish said. "That's all."