Browser has his own Facebook page. Courtesy White Settlement Public Library
Browser has his own Facebook page. Courtesy White Settlement Public Library

Bud Kennedy

Save Browser: White Settlement council fur-loughs library cat

By Bud Kennedy

bud@star-telegram.com

(Updated.)

June 23, 2016 05:07 PM

UPDATED June 30, 2016 07:36 AM

WHITE SETTLEMENT

Over children’s petitions and voters’ protests, the City Council has voted to fire Browser the library cat.

But the book-loving feline may yet have another life. If the council doesn’t reconsider at a special called meeting Friday, his friends and fans voew to force a November election on whether the library can keep its six-year reading mascot.

Declaring that “City Hall and city businesses are no place for animals,” Councilman Elzie Clements led what Browser’s fans call a sneak attack on June 14, ending in a 2-1 vote giving the former shelter cat 30 days to find a new home.

“This is not just a cat, it’s like a family pet,” said Browser fan and former Councilman Alan Price, saying the cat’s fans “will petition for an election if we need to — we’ll take this to November. I don’t think that will be any problem.”

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Lillian Blackburn, president of the Friends of the White Settlement Public Library, is for “anything we can do for this cat.”

“That cat has been loved by people of all ages for six years,” she said.

“I don’t have any animals. But this cat is so gentle and so lovable and he brings so much comfort to so many people, it seems like a shame to take him away.”

Clements and Councilman Paul Moore voted to remove Browser, who has his own Facebook page and rallied 618 signatures on an informal petition of library patrons.

That cat doesn’t hurt anybody.

White Settlement Mayor Ron White

The agenda item was listed only as “consider relocation of Library Facility cat.”

Council member Steve Ott, who was absent from the meeting, wrote on Facebook this week that he also wants Browser removed.

“Start thinking of other people who might be allergic to cat dander and let them use the library also,” he wrote.

“That cat is just that — a cat! Not a person. So go ahead and ssign all the petitions you want. The cat needs to go.”

Mayor Ron White, a nonvoting council moderator under the city charter, supports Browser. He blamed pettiness at City Hall because a city employee wasn’t allowed to keep a pet at work.

“We’ve had that cat five years, and there’s never been a question,” he said.

“That cat doesn’t have anything to do with whether somebody can have their puppy at City Hall. That cat doesn’t hurt anybody. … The council just went out and did this on their own because they don’t like cats.”

A November city election is already scheduled to decide a council seat and fill another vacancy.

Browser’s eviction is the lead story in the local Grizzly Detail weekly, which reported that the council vote came “despite an outpouring of support for the cat … with most in attendance there to voice their support.”

That made news above the July 1 reopening of the troubled Splash Dayz water park.

White said he wants the council to reconsider at a July 12 meeting, when Browser will be two days short of removal.

And if not then?

“You know, we have an election coming up in November,” he said.

Browser might outpoll the candidates.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.