ORANGE : Traps for Opossums Lure a Feud
Charles Roble says he just wanted to snare some pesky opossums, but he snared a neighborhood feud instead.
Roble, who lives in the city’s north end, says the omnivorous critters feasted in his garden, gnawed his apple tree and left a mess under his van each morning. So he set some box traps and nabbed a few.
However, neighbor Jerry Pryor claims Roble captured more than opossums. Pryor is missing two cats.
Sugar, a butterscotch-colored female, disappeared in 1989, about the time Roble set his first lure. The second, Rusty, disappeared July 15. Pryor’s wife reportedly last saw Rusty crawling into Roble’s garage, so Pryor hauled out a sign he’d posted when the family’s first feline vanished.
“Missing a Cat? Check His Traps,” reads the sign on Pryor’s garage. The letters were painted 2 feet high and a big red arrow points to Roble’s door.
“If he’ll stop with the traps and tell us what he did with the kitties, we’ll take the sign down,” Pryor said.
Roble does not like the sign, which he says has been causing him trouble in the neighborhood.
“I had a dog poisoned many years ago. I know about loss,” Roble said in an interview Tuesday.
While he denies catching anything but opossums, Roble admits that if he did catch a cat, he would turn it over to animal control officers.
Since the sign was posted in July, Roble claims that not only have his door and car been pelted with eggs, large rocks have been plopped on his doorstep and he has been harassed by Pryor.
Roble asked code enforcement officials to remove the sign but was reportedly told such an item was not covered by city code.
This week, Roble took his case to the City Council.
“Opossums make a mess as you probably well know,” Roble told the council, explaining the need for traps. The council agreed and on Tuesday ordered Pryor’s sign to be removed.
“This is clearly illegal,” said City Manager Ron Thompson, referring to the sign.
Mayor Gene Beyer said he knew what it was like to have opossum problems.
“I found one in my garbage can once and he opened his mouth and showed me his teeth . . . and I left,” Beyer said.
By Wednesday evening, Pryor said he had not yet been been contacted by city officials.
Pryor says if instructed, he would remove the sign, but warned that the feud may continue.
Meanwhile, Roble has hired a lawyer.