Library board meets to determine cat's fate - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Library board meets to determine cat's fate

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SWANSEA, Mass. -

For a cat named Penny, it's just another night patrolling the book shelves.

Meanwhile the drama over the cat making its home at the Swansea Public Library played out across town.

The cat's defenders came to a special meeting Wednesday of the library board following a complaint against the cat last week. Twenty people showed up. That's 20 more than normal for a library board meeting.

Some library patrons say they stop by just to see Penny.

"She's so soft and friendly and cuddly. She just loves to be near people," said Linda Barlow.

But last week, Patrick Higgins, who's complained about disability access issues in town for years, wanted the cat out. Higgins threatened to file a complaint with the federal government under the Americans With Disabilities Act, arguing that Penny is a problem for people allergic to cats.

"The cat's another disability that's not being addressed," Higgins told NBC 10 last week.

Higgins has since backed off wanting the cat gone, but is still demanding that signs about allergies be posted, that the library get a permit from the board of health, and that Penny not be replaced by another cat when it dies.

Higgins did not attend the special meeting of the library board. He sent an e-mail to NBC 10 claiming he'd gotten death threats and police wouldn't provide security for him.

Library board chairman Brian Lowney said no action is needed because a formal complaint has not been made.

"Penny is going to live out her years at the Swansea Public Library," Lowney said.

He also said the library would look into the issues raised if a formal complaint is lodged.

Higgins says he's not backing off his demands.

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