Browser the library cat escapes eviction amid international outcry

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News that a Texas town council had involved the cat to move out scratched many the wrong way and people from Germany to Australia stimulated their voices heard

A feline saga which gripped the nation has come to a happy aiming: Browser, a cat controversially deposed from his home at a library in small-town Texas, will now be allowed to stay.

Thousands had expressed their support for Browser online.

In 2010, Browser was brought to the library in White Settlement, Texas, from the local animal shelter, to fix a rodent problem. According to Lillian Blackburn, president of the Friends of the Library, he speedily became a community fixture.

He even has his GED because he sat in on all the classes, Blackburn said.

On 14 June, however, the town council of White Settlement passed a motion, proposed by Elzie Clements, that dedicated Browser 30 days to relocate. Clements and fellow council member Paul Moore spoke against the cat, quoting allergies and a pending redevelopment of the library as reasons for his removal.

In a video of the meeting posted to the White Settlement Council website, eight people spoke in favour of Browser.

Browser
Browser the cat sits among a group of children being read to in the citys public library on Thursday. Photograph: John L. Mone/ AP

We dont feel like thats right, Blackburn said, though she noted discovering a new home would not be difficult. We dont feel like its good for the cat. We dont feel like its good for the community.

A woman spoke about the history of cats in libraries. A man mentioned WebMD statistics on the low prevalence of cat allergies. Others “was talkin about a” how the cat brought children into the library to read. A little son was sad he had only been able to pet the cat once.

Im still trying to figure out why someone did this, Blackburn said. I dont think any of us know. No one in the staff has been told this was going to happen beforehand.

Clements said: I know Im coming up for re-election in November, and I probably just doomed my fate. Those gathered in the chamber laughed.

After the meeting, more than 700 people signed a library petition in favor of Browser staying. Virtually 12,000 signed a change.org petition pleading the same cause. A Facebook page in support of Browser had over 2,000 likes; the librarys page was littered with comments from supporters around the world.

On Friday, a special session of the town council, broadcast on Periscope by a reporter from the local ABC affiliate, voted unanimously to reinstate Browser.

The towns mayor, Ron White, said he had received more than 1,000 messages in support of the feline, from everywhere in the United States as well as Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Guam, and England.

Clements reluctantly put forth the motion to reinstate the cat, so the council could move on to other business.

I would like to apologize to those that are unable to use our public library facilities because of this cat, he said.

After the decision was announced, the crowd erupted in cheers.

Speaking after the proceedings on Friday, Blackburn said she was pleased that the library was able to keep Browser, whose care was not funded by the council.

Paul Moseley (@ pmoseleyStarT) July 1, 2016

White Settlement city council packed 4 Browser the library cat meeting, will it stay or leave? @startelegram pic.twitter.com/ AULkFWAHyL

White, a nonvoting member of the council, had spoken in favor of Browser.

Browser belongs to the community and were responsible for him, White said before the first referendum. What kind of instance for the citizens of White Settlement are we setting if after five years we no longer want Browser?

White had previously told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the decision to relocate Browser was related to the fact that someone at city hall was not allowed to bring their dog to work.

That cat doesnt have anything to do with whether someone can have their puppy at city hall, White said. The council merely used to go and did this on their own since they are dont like cats.

Members of the council did not respond to requests for comment.

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