Councilwoman: Cat proposal prompted death threat

Posted at 1:25 AM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 07:50:18-04

“As soon as the legislation became public knowledge, I started to receive emails and Facebook postings,” Niagara Falls Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti told 7 Eyewitness News.

But some of those messages reacting to her plan to address a stray cat issue in the Falls, weren’t exactly positive.

“The way I viewed this was that I had a constituents come to me with a problem and whether you agree with your constituents or not you’re representing them.”

It was earlier this month when Grandinetti sponsored a bill suggesting those caught feeding stray cats would be fined. She says the bill was created in response to resident concern over the high number of strays in the area.

It didn’t take long for those opposing her ideas to make their opinions heard. Those opinions - as many as 100 of them - delivered by email and over Facebook.

“Postings came fast and furiously and they started to get pretty intense,” Grandinetti said

 “The messages that put me over the top very vulgar and language that I certainly wouldn’t use.”

Those messages included phrases such as “. . . I would like to see you drugged and urinated on. . . ” and “. . . do us a favor drown your two children and kill yourself. . .”

The messages continued for two weeks, with language strong enough to move Grandinetti to take action.

“It got to the point where there were so many and I was so uncomfortable that I asked the police chief whether or not he thought I should file.”

And file she did.

This six year member of the council says the messages were not sent anonymously which could make it easier for police to investigate.

Despite the harassment, Grandinetti says there is a silver lining. This conflict has served as a catalyst for conversation.

The council member, the City’s Legal Department and Amy Lewis, Executive Director of the Niagara County SCPA, have since met to discuss viable options to address the stray cat issue.

And for those still opposed to Grandinetti’s future bills, “I appreciate their opinions however I am an elected official and I have to do my job. “