By Jack Douglas Jr., Senior Investigative Producer CBS11 News
Tarrant County (CBSDFW.COM) – If you need a break from the political pickle we’re in, the ongoing turmoil in Europe or the everyday threat of terrorism, consider what’s going on inside White Settlement’s city library.
The City Council has actually found the time, and the need, to place an official vote on whether a cat, affectionately named Browser, can continue to roam through the book shelves – its home for the past six years.
In fact, the same city government that voted to give Browser the boot, actually commissioned the cat to live in the library to chase away rodents – a job it has obediently fulfilled for years.
But recently, some people – though certainly not the majority — have gone to the library, gotten the sniffles, eyes watering, and left complaining that they are allergic to cats.
City council member Elzie Clements told CBS11 News that’s the reason he and fellow councilman Paul Moore voted to move Browser out of the library, over the objections of the only other council member in attendance, David Mann.
Mayor Ronald White said he also wants to keep the cat at the library, but can only vote in such matters to break a tie.
“This is an ambassador for the city of White Settlement and for the library …it helps children …because they read to the cat,” White said.
But despite Browser supporters who packed the city council chambers for the vote, the outcome went the other way. And that has not gone over well for many library goers in the town.
“I come here to see the cat because he’s really friendly and he lets me pet him. And he doesn’t scratch me or bite me,” said 10-year-old Christian Bearden who, after befriending Browser, has suddenly found a new reason to pick up a library book.
“I love him,” Christian said. “I don’t want him to leave.”
Browser boosters have vowed to fight back, asking for a recall vote, or a special referendum to reverse the decision and allow the friendly cat to stay. They’ve started a petition.
“I’m concerned that we’ve had a cat living here for six years, and suddenly, for no reason that’s been explained to us, the council wants to take it away from its only home its ever known,” said Lillian Blackburn, president of the Friends of the Library.
But while Browser roams through the library, blissfully brushing up against pants legs, purring for the public and playing with the kids, Blackburn summed up a less fortunate future: “He has 30 days to vacate.”
If you want to reach CBS11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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