Florida: City commissioners working with volunteers on TNR

Deltona Florida
Deltona Florida is a “bedroom community”
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Counties and cities in the USA are gradually working out ways to control cat populations with the objective of humanely reducing numbers of stray and unwanted cats. Marion County, Florida has confinement laws, for example.

In Deltona, Volusia County, Florida, USA, the commissioners have worked out a better way, going forward, to solve the so called “feral cat problem”. We know that, in principle, trap-neuter-return is the best route. In fact, it is the only route, if we are honest.

It is cheaper in the long run, it is more effective than ad hoc trapping and euthanizing and it is more humane.

The question is how to organise it?

There are a lot of people who are involved in TNR without local authority involvement. They feed and TNR feral cats. Often this is in breach of city or county law. Sometimes these good and kindly people are criminalised. They are hounded for doing what is correct and humane and in taking up a task that should be the responsibility of the authorities.

In Volusia County, Oklahoma, USA the authorities have decided that the unorganised way feral cats are dealt with is not working and have passed an ordinance allowing the city manager to develop and pilot a TNR program with the involvement of volunteers. This is organised TNR with tax-payer backing and community involvement (and therefore commitment).

What was happening until now is that Animal Control would receive a complaint about a stray cat and trap him then transport the cat to the Halifax Humane Society where, if he was lucky, he’d be adopted out but most likely he’d be euthanized. The process works out at $85 dollars per cat.

And let’s not kid ourselves, solutions are always tied to money. When city commissioners and politicians make decisions on behalf of their citizens, a major factor is their impact on the tax payer.

It costs $55 per cat to trap-neuter-return says the co-founder of Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare, Pat Mihalic. This is her volunteer group and they assist animal control in the capture and transportation of feral cats.

This partnership between volunteers who are concerned about cat welfare and the authorities is neat because it saves money and the volunteers see real progress in respect of cat welfare, plus they have the backing of the authorities rather than working in conflict with them.

Adding icing to cake is Petsmart Charities who have agreed to cover the cost of spaying and neutering 600 cats annually for two years.

The Halifax Humane Society want to reduce the number euthanized but as an open-door shelter the numbers force them to euthanize. Organised TNR as described will reduce intake numbers and reduce euthanasia accordingly allowing, in the long term, for every cat rescued to be adopted out to a new home – the goal of all shelters.

7 thoughts on “Florida: City commissioners working with volunteers on TNR”

  1. Dear DE-The stray female is a good kitty, very smart and sometimes lovable. I would rather keep her in a secure shed [ my husbands] for the winter. In order to even think along these lines; I will have to have as you say her surgery with an abortion. I have not addressed this possibility until you mentioned it. Will a Vet do this procedure If I ask for it ?

  2. Thank you for your comments Michael *
    God Bless You for caring so much and for keeping updated and well informed about the awesome cat world we share. Your friend, Eva

  3. I can say without any guilt that we need to continue to reduce the feral cat population.The alternative leaves many unwanted strays living in poor conditions, being injured, in pain and afraid, starving etc..
    And cats do not discriminate about their mating partners in the wild.The females are privy and exposed to any male cat that comes along.Cutting all the males is NOT the answer.One lone male will impregnate an entire community; it’s a fact; But we should consider keeping the gene pool viable because the stronger and dominate genes stand the best chance to carry a stronger immune system. The females need humane treatment with sterilization and free medical care-shelter and food and fresh water and love. I also strongly advise follow-up after surgery in case of complications or infections. I have a very young{too young] pregnant female in my yard this month.She is the outcome of my irresponsible neighbors; who believe that cats can fend for themselves.[Also a myth] These animals are domesticated and rely on us for help. Today I have to make an appt. to find a home for her [ which is not likely] and or having her put down [ which I am heartsick and angry about ________

    • Thanks Eva. Interesting concept: keeping the gene pool strong. That hadn’t crossed my mind until you mentioned but should have because that very problem has occurred for the Florida Panther, the Siberian tiger and Iberian lynx for example. Theses are 3 wild cat species under threat due to inbreeding. If TNR was carried out very efficiently you could get inbreeding causing depressed immune systems as you say.

    • Eva, you’re saying that your neighbors accept no responsibility for this young pregnant girl that is hanging out at your place?
      It’s a fairly common story in a lot of places, sadly.
      Findly her a home will, probably, be next to impossible; but, I don’t think killing her is the answer.
      Most rescue groups would be able to put you in another direction if you call them. There are, most likely, some low cost spay/neuter services that they are aware of. Ofcourse, the fetuses will be aborted in the process. It’s pretty much a matter of whether you want to accept the responsibility that the “slackers” left behind.


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