November 2022 Citizen of the Month - Susan Menard and Hayley Wood
During the Tuesday, November 1, Meeting of Marion City Council, Council Member Ann Harkey selected Susan Menard and Hayley Wood as Citizens of the month.
Mayor Little opened the meeting by explaining that the Citizen of the Month was a celebration of the people that influence and better the community. He stated that City Council began recognizing the Citizen of the Month about 20 years ago.
Council Member Harkey began her presentation by thanking those present and Mayor Little for their time. She stated that she wanted to recognized cat warriors Susan Menard and Hayley Wood.
Council Member Harkey stated that everyone was gathered to honor the two fearless feline females and hear their individual stories. She stated that Ms. Menard and Ms. Wood lived among and campaigned for the rights of feral and homeless cats.
Council Member Harkey stated that a Cat Warrior was a mature she cat who had completed her warrior training. She said some adjectives describing warrior cats are tough, guarded, intelligent, confident, outspoken, strong, agile and smart.
Council Member Harkey stated there was a quote “Cats are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” She then stated that these cat warriors can’t have just one. She said that both Ms. Menard and Ms. Wood had a passion for feral cats and tireless energy in helping them survive in their outdoor environment.
Council Member Harkey stated that Ms. Menard moved to Glenwood 17 years ago. She stated that when Ms. Menard was biking she found a puppy that had been abandoned. She stated that when Ms. Menard called the local shelter and found out the shelter euthanized unadoptable animals, she decided to connect with a local rescue group to find a home for the puppy.
Council Member Harkey stated that during that time Ms. Menard also started to notice that feral cats were coming to her home. Ms. Harkey then explained that feral cats were cats that lived outdoors that looked for a source of food and shelter. She stated that these cats were not socialized to humans therefore were not adoptable.
Council Member Harkey said that feral cats lead healthy, natural lives on their own, content in their outdoor environment. She stated that Ms. Menard knew that feeding them wasn’t the answer to the problem. She stated that after research, Ms. Menard decided to start a Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) program.
Council Member Harkey said the TNR program involved humanely trapping cats, spaying and neutering them, vaccinating them, and returning them to their outdoor homes. She said that this ensured that additional cats were not produced, which stabilized the cat population.
Council Member Harkey stated that in 2009, Ms. Menard began raising funds by asking fellow animal lovers and the families that boarded their pets with her for $10 a month. She stated that thanks to these funds and grant money, she was able to purchase equipment for the TNR program.
Council Member Harkey stated that after the cats went through the TNR program, they were brought back to Ms. Menard’s house where they could recover in a heated and air conditioned cat house, which was purchased by Ms. Menard’s husband.
Council Member Harkey stated that Ms. Menard and volunteers transported cats to Foothills Spay and Neuter Clinic in Conover, where they were spayed or neutered.
Council Member Harkey stated that the spay/neuter program was a win-win for the community. She stated that since 2009, Mercy Fund’s TNR program had altered 2,056.
Council Member Harkey then introduced Hayley Wood. She stated that Ms. Wood had worked at Coats America for 25 years.
Council Member Harkey stated that before the pandemic, Ms. Wood had actively worked out at the YMCA. She stated that when the YMCA closed because of the pandemic, Ms. Wood began running like Forest Gump.
Council Member Harkey said it was during one of these runs when Ms. Wood found a cat living underneath a dumpster. She stated that Ms. Wood began feeding the cats, then three more cats showed up, so she named the group the Dumpster Cat Gang.
Ms. Harkey stated that it was then that Ms. Wood found out about the TNR Program. She stated that Ms. Wood took the cats to the TNR Program and let them stay afterward in her garage for recovery.
Council Member Harkey stated that ever since that time Ms. Wood had been an active member of Mercy Fund Animal Rescue. She stated that Ms. Wood’s passion for cats and finding them forever homes was amazing.
Council Member Harkey stated that Ms. Wood had found creative ways to find cats forever homes, like putting pictures of the cats dressed in funny costumes on social media.
Council Member Harkey then shared a harrowing tale of Ms. Wood rescuing kittens from the garden center at Lowes Home Improvement, who had been born in the box of a fire pit on a top shelf. She also shared another story where Ms. Wood used a 10-foot tall ladder to reach kittens that were stuck in a storm drain.
Council Member Harkey then shared another quote “If cats could talk, they wouldn’t.”
Council Member Harkey stated that when thinking about Ms. Menard and Ms. Wood, she thought of Laverne and Shirley from the sitcom Laverne and Shirley that aired from 1976-1983. She then sung a few lines from the show’s theme song.
Following Ms. Harkey’s kind words. Council Members shared their appreciation for the work that Ms. Menard and Ms. Wood do. They stated that the TNR Program truly made a difference, because it helped stabilize the cat population.
Council Members also commended the two on their dedication to rescuing animals and ensuring they had proper care.