Home » Government » Local Humane Society launches “Trap, Neuter, Release” program for feral cats

Local Humane Society launches “Trap, Neuter, Release” program for feral cats

Asks for community support; city’s permission to feed feral cats for one year

As the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Calling the number of feral cats a “huge problem” in the community, High Desert Humane Society is doing its part to solve it.

People not altering their pet cats created the problem and “now we—all of us—have to fix it,” Cheryl Brazell, with HDHS, said at the Dec. 3 Globe City Council meeting. 

With help from the Animal Defense League of Arizona, HDHS had recently implemented its “Trap, Neuter, Release” (TNR) program. Feral cats are trapped, fixed and returned to where they were trapped, ending the reproduction cycle.

ADLA provided the training as well as humane traps and ongoing support. HDHS chipped in $4,000 in donations and 10 volunteers to trap and transport cats to and from Mesa.

“It is off to a great start,” Brazell said.  “The Humane Society believes that this is the best, most humane way to help this community regarding the feral cat problem.”

Making three trips to the Valley in two weeks, volunteers saw to it that 27 cats were fixed last month.

A list with hundreds of cats scheduled for trapping in various neighborhoods is now growing as word gets out.

While most people will allow the fixed cats back into their yards, if they don’t, HDHS finds ranches or other places they will be welcome, fed and safe.

Pam Austin and Cheryl Brazell, both with High Desert Humane Society, address the Globe City Council Dec. 3 about its “Trap, Neuter, Release” program to help reduce the number of feral cats.
Photo by Carol Broeder

Addressing the hoarding problem in some neighborhoods, Brazell said that, if given addresses, HDHS will catch the cats by placing traps on neighboring properties.

While HDHS volunteers will not trespass, with the help of neighbors, the problem can be fixed, she said.

Fixing cats stops the fighting and screeching due to breeding and unwanted litters in area neighborhoods.

Anyone with a colony in their yard that needs to be taken care of may call 928-200-3611.

HDHS also needs money and volunteers to make the TNR program successful.

“The Humane Society believes if given the opportunity, we can make a big difference in our community,” Brazell said. 

Along with community support, HDHS is asking the City of Globe’s help by temporarily repealing a city code that prohibits the feeding of feral cats, so that residents may participate in the program.

“The plan to stop feeding, hoping they will die, is inhumane and causes other problems,” said Brazell, explaining that when not fed, cats spread out looking for food and breed even more.

She went onto say that starving means suffering, which “goes against everything I believe in and what the Humane Society stands for.”

Brazell introduced the program’s director, Pam Austin. Calling feral cats “very stealthy,” Austin recommended leaving food out for no more than one hour per day. The cats will learn to arrive at that time, making them easier to assess and trap.

She explained that every cat the program fixes will have its left ear notched, so that it cannot be mistaken for an unaltered cat.  

HDHS would like to fix at least 10 cats per week.

“Forty a month will make a difference real fast,” Brazell said. “It is a big undertaking, but the Humane Society is proud to do it.”

With strong support and positive feedback, HDHS believes that “our community strongly favors what we are doing,” Brazell said.

Council is scheduled to address the one-year moratorium request again during its Jan. 15 regular meeting.

City Manager Paul Jepson said he reached out to ADLA to find out if a code change is required to carry out their plan. 

He believes the city might not need to change its code, but won’t know for sure until they talk. 

“If we did need to do something it would be a more narrow action,” said Jepson, explaining that a moratorium might leave some homeowners unprotected. 

 

 

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