Best Friends Animal Society and PetSmart Charities are partnering with Columbus Animal Care & Control Center and other animal welfare organizations to bring a Trap-Neuter-Return project to Columbus. The goal of the project is help save more community cats.
A town hall meeting, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, will be held to share the benefits and success stories from similar programs from 6 to 8 tonight at the Doubletree Hotel on 5351 Sidney Simons Blvd.
The meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the program, have questions answered and learn how to get involved.
According to a report last year, based on a Humane Society formula, Columbus could have as many as 100,000 feral cats roaming about.
One female cat can produce four litters a year, with each averaging three to five kittens, so a small colony with only five females could produce 100 kittens per year. If half of those are female, the problem can increase 10-fold in one year.
There is also a health benefit to trapping the cats. If one is found to have a dangerous communicable disease, then it can be put down.
Best Friends and Animal Care & Control plans to trap 6,000 free-roaming community cats over three years, spay/neuter and vaccinate them and return them to their outdoor homes. In a press release announcing the partnership, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said, “Community cats exist because people abandon pets, many of which are not spayed or neutered and if not managed, colonies can grow exponentially. This program will manage colony growth, prevent the spread of disease, and reduce ACCC euthanasia rate in the first year.”
In the program, cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian who does the needed work then tips one ear as a visual signal that the cat has been sterilized. The cats are then returned to their outdoor home.
Sterilizing does more than prevent litters of new kittens.
According to the press release, it reduces common nuisances such as roaming, howling and fighting. Best Friends and PetSmart Charities will invest approximately $600,000 that will cover one full-time staff member to run the program, a transport van, spay/neuter surgeries and other vet costs, TNR program supplies, marketing support and staff training. The partner groups will work with several other local animal welfare organizations in an innovative, public-private partnership that is modeled after similar successful programs in other U.S. communities.
Columbus Animal Care & Control was one of just three shelters chosen this year by Best Friends and its partner PetSmart Charities.