YUKON -- The national advocacy organization Alley Cat Allies has awarded a $500 grant to Pets & People Humane Society to promote the protection and humane treatment of feral cats.
The Yukon-based humane society will partner with a small team of feral colony managers to support trap-neuter and return (TNR) programs currently in operation in Yukon.
TNR is a method of humanely trapping, spaying or neutering, and returning feral cats to the location where they were trapped. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it is a humane and effective alternative to euthanasia, which stops the birth of new cats and allows adults to complete their life-spans, approximately six years for outdoor cats, within their own groups known as colonies.
The new Alley Cat Allies grant will pay for spaying or neutering and rabies shots for 16 cats.
Volunteers on the TNR Team usually pay for surgeries and the cost of food for the cats in the colonies they manage.
The Alley Cat Allies web site at http://www.alleycat.org stated: “The recipients were chosen from hundreds of applicants for their innovative and sustainable programs planned in honor of this year’s National Feral Cat Day®, These model programs will have long-term impact in their communities, and we look forward to building relationships with these committed organizations.”
National Feral Cat Day will be celebrated on Oct. 16.
Pets & People leaders and the TNR Team have met several times with Yukon City Councilman Mike McEachern to propose new animal welfare ordinances that make TNR activities official and encourage spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the city.
“Irresponsible pet owners and pet overpopulation are the real problems, not people who feed and spay or neuter, or the cats themselves,” TNR Team Leader Jody Harlan said. “That’s why receiving the national Community Impact Award from Alley Cat Allies is so important -- it supports the TNR model that we encourage municipal decision-makers to adopt into Yukon city ordinances and local practice.”
“Neutering or spaying cats stops the cycle of unwanted animals, while reducing complaints from homeowners because there are fewer hungry cats running loose,” Harlan said. “Feeding cats responsibly also limits their need to feed on natural prey like birds.”
Harlan hopes the Alley Cat Allies grant will encourage Yukon city leaders “to consider investing in a discount spay-neuter program that is subsidized by the city at least once or twice a year and maybe advertised on utility bills.”
“Oklahoma City spayed or neutered thousands of feral cats for free at the Oklahoma Humane Society through a five-year grant program that was supported by funds in the city budget,” Harlan said. “Such a program significantly reduces pet overpopulation, encourages pet owners to take responsibility and takes pressure off animal control and the TNR volunteers.”