TNR Program Announced

Tue Jul 01, 2014 @ 09:00AM to Sun Aug 31, 2014 @ 06:00PM

July1, 2014, Logan, Utah
The Cache Humane Society is teaming up with Best Friends Animal Society Utah to try a new way of dealing with feral cats.The "Trap-Neuter-Return" initiative will begin on July 1, 2014. This no-kill initiative involves catching,sterilizing and vaccinating the cats, then releasing them back into the wild."We have a problem with the current trap and kill plan in the Cache Valley for controlling these feral cats. It is not working. We would

like to try something different, a TNR (trap, neuter, return) plan," said Roland Bringhurst, Executive Director, Cache Humane Society.

Arlyn Bradshaw, director of the no-kill initiative at Best Friends explained: "When we talk about feral cats, what we mean are free-roaming cats, who have no tags or any ways of identifying them as someone's pet. They live within the communities, but live in the wild. They live outdoors their entire lives." A true feral cat won’t be seen during the day; they are afraid of humans. They function like wild animals.

Of all the cats brought to the Cache Humane Society, only 8 percent are identifiable as having an owner and returned to their homes. If a cat is brought into the shelter, officials say, the chance is very slim that an owner comes looking for it. In 2013, nearly 1,000 cats were brought into the shelter, according to Michelle Althouse, Cat Manager for CHS. After the cat is held for the state mandatory 5 days,and not claimed, it is evaluated for adoption. If considered not-adoptable because of behavioral or illness, it is unfortunately euthanized.

Under the new plan, the cat would be trapped, brought to the shelter, sterilized, vaccinated and its ear clipped, "so we know that cat has been sterilized and vaccinated," Bringhurst said. After that the cat is released back into the wild. It is actually less of a workload for the animal shelter, and it will free up cage space, since they (the cats) don’t have to be held for five days. "For those who like the idea of saving as many animals as possible, this plan reduces the number of euthanizations," Bradshaw said.

"The program has been working well in Salt Lake County, Bradshaw said. "Salt Lake County has been doing it for four years. In Salt Lake County, we are dealing with a lot more cats, 13,000. But 63 percent fewer cats were euthanized. They now have a 90 percent save ratio, after four years."

"Best Friends has agreed to provide extra staff and resources to implement the program," according to Bringhurst. "They also subsidize the cost of sterilization and vaccination." At the same time, the Cache Humane Society will be starting a "Barn Cat" program. This program will relocate these sterilized and vaccinated cats to farms when they cannot be returned to the area that they were trapped.
The Cache Humane Society has humane traps that can be borrowed for the purpose of trapping these feral cats. There is no rental charge for the traps, but they do ask for a $60 deposit to ensure the return of the trap. CHS will also provide sterilization of these cats for no cost. However, if you are able to pay part of the cost, it will ensure that the program can continue.