It’s our fault that there is a pet over-population crisis. We, collectively, have allowed cats and dogs to continue to breed, having litter after litter, without considering that there are not enough homes or families to care for all of their offspring. There are thousands in our local shelter euthanized annually simply because there are too many of them. When left unchecked, it becomes such a huge problem that some believe that the only answer is to catch and kill them.
In past decades, many local governments, including Richmond County, approached community cat populations using solutions like trap and remove, which usually involves killing the trapped cats. Those conventional approaches are now widely recognized as mostly ineffective and unable to address the larger community animal issue. New research (Hurley and Levy, 2013) reveals that this non-targeted, selective response to a population which is reproducing at high rates doesn’t help to reduce cat populations and nuisances in our communities, improve cat welfare, further public health and safety or mitigate the real impact of cats on wildlife.
Instead, sterilization and vaccination programs, such as trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNR) are being implemented to manage cat populations in communities across the country. Well managed TNR programs offer a humane and proven way to resolve conflicts, reduce population, and prevent disease outbreaks by including vaccinations against rabies and other potential diseases, with the wellness exam at the time of sterilization. Whether or not people like cats should not enter into the discussion, as it is incumbent upon us to help and protect people and animals. Continue reading