Newsletter – August 2014
I recently spent a week at Best Friends Animal Society’s 3700-acre sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. The sanctuary is home to about 1700 animals, mostly cats and dogs. Thirty years after its humble inception, Best Friends now has a $70 million per year fund-raising goal. Almost all of its animals on-site are adoptable, although approximately half have special needs. Best Friends took in the Michael Vick pit bulls and helped rescue 6000 animals following Hurricane Katrina.
Best Friends’ mission is to eliminate homeless pets, four million of which are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. It does this through adoptions and spaying and neutering programs.
Best Friends teams up with its network partners – other rescue organizations throughout the country – to help tackle animal problems at a local level. One significant success has been the TNR (trap-neuter-return) program for feral, or community, cats. There are approximately 70 million free-roaming cats in the U.S. Their lives can be short and brutal; half the kittens do not survive without human intervention. Cats can begin reproducing at 4 months, and females can have 2 to 4 litters per year, with an average of 3 to 5 kittens per litter. Cats make up about 70 percent of the animals euthanized in shelters, and 80 percent of those are community cats. The good news is that TNR programs, coupled with community caregivers dedicated to providing food, water and shelter, can be a successful and humane way of controlling feral cat populations. At least three cities have shown a 50 percent drop in cat euthanasia to shelters within just a year or two of concerted TNR efforts.
Color Country Animal Welfare (CCAW) is dedicated to the reduction of homeless cats in Wayne County. In just the first half of 2014, CCAW has fixed 150 community cats at the request of landowners who recognize the problem of unchecked cats but who are willing to allow those present to live out their lives with basic care. CCAW works with individuals to conduct group trappings; we provide the cages and transport the cats to and from the vet, returning them to their original locations. While under anesthesia, a cat’s left ear is clipped (“tipped”), making it easy to identify the fixed cats in a community. Community cats also serve as effective pest control in and around houses and barns. CCAW can also help to recommend deterrents to keep community cats out of your yard. CCAW also provides low-cost spay and neuter vouchers, and we encourage you to also spay and neuter your pets. Cats and dogs can be fixed as soon as they reach 2 pounds.
CCAW and Best Friends will be working jointly to conduct a TNR event for feral/community cats in Wayne County on September 23. Please contact us if you would like to be involved in the event or if you have questions. And as always, if you are seeing or feeding stray cats in your area, we can help.
For the animals,
Sarah Tal, President
Color Country Animal Welfare Utah