Cats, rabbits, chickens, rats - name the animal and there's a good chance it was part of the "ark" of discussion at Monday evening's Lackawanna City Council meeting.
The Council passed two ordinances relating to animals, tabled a third ordinance and heard from a West Seneca man expressing concerns that the Lackawanna Halal Market on Ridge Road was selling injured rabbits and chickens.
And all of that was merely a precursor to the lengthiest discussion of the meeting - the multitude of rats roaming through the city.
City officials are considering a plan to implement a garbage tote system similar to those in Buffalo and Cheektowaga, but in the meantime, the rats have been running roughshod across the city, partly because of garbage left uncovered at the curb.
"We've got to get cooperation from our residents," said Ralph D. Miranda, the city's economic-development director, urging residents to keep a lid on garbage and help choke off a vital food supply for rats.
Third Ward Councilman Joseph L. Jerge also encouraged business owners to do a better job of attending to their trash.
"If you've seen rats, it's in places where the trash isn't covered," he said. "It is citywide. Every deli owner and every business - and every homeowner, for that matter - should be held to the same standard."
The issue surfaced when resident Mohammed Albannah pointed out that some deli owners were having a difficult time affording a city requirement for enclosed Dumpsters. City sanitation workers, he said, have refused for the last two weeks to pick up refuse at some of the delis.
"Some small stores can't even put a Dumpster next to their stores because there's no room," said Albannah, who also inquired about the status of the proposed totes.
The Council unanimously passed an ordinance designed to choke off another source of food for rats and other rodents. It prohibits the use of bird-feeders, wildlife-feeders and outdoor pet food bowls. It also forbids the feeding of nondomestic animals, including birds, deer, rabbits, squirrels and stray cats.
Dogs were not ignored during the evening's discussion, either. The Council voted unanimously to increase city penalties for people who don't pick up after their dogs. The offense is now punishable with a fine of $100 to $250 and up to 15 days in jail.
Council members voted to further study a measure that would mandate that all domestic cats wear identifying collars and tags or risk being seized.
West Seneca resident Stephen Patronik brought up the issue of rabbits and chickens at the Lackawanna Halal Market, which will slaughter the animals on site according to Islamic ritual.
Patronik told the Council that he purchased a rabbit at the market that had a broken leg and back, and later learned that selling an injured animal is against the law.
He said he bought the rabbit for $20 because he pitied it. He took the rabbit to a veterinarian, who put it to sleep.
Patronik also said the market's slaughterhouse was not hygienic, and he urged Council members and other city residents to sign a petition asking for a county or state investigation.