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Browser the cat gets to stay at White Settlement library

Browser the White Settlement library cat can stay

The White Settlement city council votes to let Browser the library cat stay, but not without some high emotions from both sides.
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The White Settlement city council votes to let Browser the library cat stay, but not without some high emotions from both sides.

Browser, the cat who lives at the White Settlement Public Library, will be allowed to continue residence, the City Council decided Friday evening.

At least 50 White Settlement residents crammed into the small council chambers Friday afternoon for a special called meeting. Others waited outside. All seemed to be Browser backers.

City Councilmen Elzie Clements, Paul Moore and David Mann voted 3-0 in a 20-minute meeting not to evict the cat.

On June 14, the council voted 2-1 to give the former shelter cat 30 days to find a new home. Clements and Moore were the two votes to remove Browser.

Then the fur flew.

Mayor Ronald White, a nonvoting council moderator under the city charter, said that he had gotten 1,399 emails from places as far away as London, Guam and Australia in support of letting the cat stay. That was after he deleted 400, White said.

“We are now known all over the world,” White said. “I’m not sure yet if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

Media outlets such as the Washington Post, Buzz Feed and The Associated Press have also inquired about Browser’s welfare, White said.

“I never expected this would get this big,” White said.

Nether Moore nor Clements could be reached to find after the meeting out why they changed their vote. But Clements wife, Penny, said her family has also been receiving messages about Browser, but of a more unfriendly variety.

“We have gotten nothing but hate emails and hate messages since this whole thin started,” Penny Clements said. “We just wanted it all to go away. We’ve been called cat haters and we have cats at home. People have suggested doing things just short of murder.”

White said the cat was a shelter kitten when he was given to the public library more than six years ago to stem a rodent problem. The exterminator for the library put down poison to kill the rodents, but there was some transfer that got on the books and those books had to be cleaned, White said.

“We didn’t want those books getting into the hands of little children who would then put their fingers in their mouths,” White said.

The cat seemed like a logical alternative, White said.

A petition that was circulated after news went out that Browser was in danger gathered more than 700 signatures, said Alan Price, a White Settlement resident with three dogs in his family.

At 7 p.m. the petition had more than 20,400 signatures.

Some people at the meeting with cat allergies mentioned their illness, but they did not say they wanted the cat to move out of the library, Price said.

Library officials said they would move the cat to the rear of the library if anyone with allergies comes in and complains, Price said.

“We really didn’t need this cat issue,” Price said. “We have a lot of other stuff going on that we need to worry about.”

This story contains information from Star-Telegram archives

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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