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Best Friends Animal Society partners with Philadelphia Animal Control

Spay that stray
Spay that stray
Courtesy of Facebook

Yesterday, August 7, Newsworks announced that Best Friends Animal Society is partnering with Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control team on a spay/neuter program. They're focusing on community feral cats in efforts to greatly reduce the thousands of cats entering Philadelphia's Animal Control shelters. Feral cats, not being adoptable, have no chance of leaving a county kill shelter alive. Whether or not that county has a mandatory hold time, soon decisions will be made as to which cats make it to the adoption room and which are put to death.

Animal rescue teams prefer the term "community" rather than "feral," noting that, while many of the cats are wild and unapproachable, others live in neighborhoods and interact with humans, but just don't belong to a particular household.

"People love these cats! A lot of people feed these cats." says Sizemore, of Best Friends Animal Society. "They just don't have the ability to trap them, get them spayed and neutered and vaccinated and then put them back out. What we'll be doing is going out into the community and really working to provide these services."

Susan Cosby, executive director of Animal Care and Control Team, says that the program will make a big difference. "They're actually going to be providing, over three years, assistance for up to 12,000 cats in our city, which will have a tremendous impact on reducing the number of cats coming into the shelter and then helping us be more effective as a shelter and a community in taking care of the cats in need," Cosby says.

Baltimore started a similar program about a year ago, during the summer months, and now has a cat room with empty cages! In the history of the agency this has never before happened. Prior to the TNR program the city of Baltimore was battling overcrowding and more cats coming in than the county animal control could handle.

After much news of the success of Trap, Neuter, Release programs across the country, a 1 million dollar grant aims to duplicate that success in Philadelphia. Spartanburg Animal Services, San Jose Animal Care and Services, Fairfax County Animal Shelter the Humane League of Lancaster County and Fayetteville County Georgia are just a few of the more recent locations around the country experiencing success with TNR. Does your county support trap, neuter and return? If not, why?

Cobb County Georgia is killing healthy cats at alarming rates due to outdated ordinances that do nothing to actually control the outdoor cat population. These cats survive locally, and have for generations, in the many wooded lots, fields and neighborhoods in our county, keeping the rodent population in check. Without community cats protecting our neighborhoods and homes from infestation we are left with few options that actually work and offer permanent success. The community cats, at least, stay outside. The unwelcome rodents move right into our homes, live in our walls and attics causing havoc, expense and stress to homeowners.

You can attend your local county commissioner meetings and petition your local elected officials and decision makers to support trap, neuter, release programs in your area. The less cats entering our county animal control shelter, the less expense to the system and the more time, energy, space and resources for adoptable animals that need shelter until they can find their new family.

The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

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