Animal lovers launch cat control program on island

Participants in the TNR discussion who cuddled kittens from the animal shelter included, from left, Photo available for purchase

Participants in the TNR discussion who cuddled kittens from the animal shelter included, from left, Susan Kearny president of the humane society, island resident Willie Norred and Jeanette Burdette, founder of Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment, a Wakulla County not-for-profit.

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 14:56 PM.

On Saturday, a group of animal lovers took the first step toward controlling the feral cat population on St. George Island with a trap/neuter/release program (TNR).

TNR is the method of feral cat control endorsed by Alley Cat Allies (ACA), a national organization to protect and stabilize feral cat populations.

According to the ACA website, “TNR involves humanely trapping stray and feral cats and having them vaccinated and spayed/neutered before returning them to their outdoor home. It is the only effective method of stabilizing outdoor cat colonies. As a result of TNR, the birth of new kittens in the colony slows down and eventually ends when all the cats are spayed or neutered. In addition, socialized cats and kittens are spayed/neutered and then often put up for adoption, causing an immediate reduction in the population size.

“After using the cruel, costly catch and kill method for decades and failing to stabilize cat populations, local officials and animal control officers everywhere have realized that they need a completely different approach. Some TNR programs have now been in place for as many as 25 years.”

Helen Gore and Cathy Buell, cofounders of St. George Island Cat Allies together with June Crawford of Aiken, South Carolina, organized Saturday’s meeting, held at the St. George Island United Methodist Church. They began their crusade by rescuing 14 feral cats trapped at an island housing development and slated for execution. Eight of those cats are now housed in Apalachicola awaiting adoption.

Gore said to further their rescue mission, the Allies need four things.

Volunteers are needed to help trap and transport cats. Volunteers would not be expected to handle the animals, only traps or crates containing them.



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