Elyria Feral Cat Project Launched

July 24, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda
AT: (440) 326-1402

 

Elyria Feral Cat Project Launched

With an estimated 14,000 feral cats roaming the streets of Elyria, ignoring the problem is no longer an option.  To help address the growing issue, Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda, Lorain County Friendship Animal Protective League Director Greg Willey, and a group of compassionate neighborhood-level citizen volunteers are starting the Elyria Feral Cat Project.

Members of the Elyria Feral Cat Project are dedicated to humanely controlling the growth of the feral cat population in the City of Elyria through a combination of educational programming and using the humane technique of Trap-Neuter-Return, often called TNR.

Here’s how the program will work:

  • The City of Elyria will receive, track and forward tips regarding feral cats to neighborhood-level volunteers who have committed to educating themselves and taking personal responsibility for executing TNR activities.
  • The City of Elyria and the Lorain County Friendship APL will work with its existing citizen networks, including Friendship APL,  Elyria TNR volunteers, neighborhood block watch organizations, Elyria City Council, civic organizations and others to build the TNR volunteer neighborhood network and share information about how to prevent and address existing feral cat challenges in the City.
  • The City of Elyria will help support private, philanthropic fundraising activities to create the Elyria Feral Cat Fund to be held by the Lorain County Friendship APL.  Qualified, trained TNR volunteers will be eligible to apply for the funds to pay for traps, TNR support supplies and materials, spaying and neutering, cat food, and educational materials.  The first fundraising effort to benefit this
    designated fund is the City of Elyria Cash for Kitties Night – Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:05 at the Lake Erie Crushers All Pro Fright Stadium in Avon, Ohio.  See attached flyer for details.  Another event is planned for January 2014 that will raise funds through a cat YouTube video contest involving Elyria residents.
  • The City of Elyria and the Lorain County Friendship APL will jointly market the TNR  program to the community.
  • The Lorain County Friendship Animal Protective League will provide TNR training; supply traps; provide intake for trapped felines; broker the veterinary services related to the spaying or neutering, vaccinations and other health services; provide temporary recovery housing and support for the recovering animals; and oversee the felines’ release back into the community.
  • Neighborhood-level pilot programming will begin in September, 2013 – with a more full implementation targeted for early
    2014.

What is TNR?

Trap-Neuter-Return, commonly referred to as “TNR”, is the only method proven to be effective, humane and cost-effective in controlling feral cat population growth.  Using this technique, all the feral cats in a colony are trapped, neutered or spayed, then returned to their territory where caregivers provide them with regular food and shelter.  Young kittens who can still be socialized, as well as friendly adults, are placed in foster care and eventually adopted out to good homes.

TNR has many advantages.  It immediately stabilizes the size of the colony by eliminating litters.  The nuisance behavior often associated with feral cats is dramatically reduced including yowling and fighting that come with mating activity and the odor unneutered males spraying to mark their territory.  Another significant advantage to TNR is that, when practiced in large scale, it lessens the number of kittens and cats flowing into local shelters.   Moreover, the public health benefit is obvious given all cats in the colony are vaccinated for rabies and other diseases that can be spread to other animals and humans.

How Elyria Can Stop Feral Cat Overpopulation

The biggest hurdle to managing the cat overpopulation in Elyria is the public’s noncompliance in spaying and neutering companion cats and allowing them to roam free.  It is these actions that supply a constant “supply” of cats which add to the increase in the growing outdoor cat population.

Until the public becomes responsible in this regard, the City has four options: (1) ignore them, (2) trap and remove them, (3) institute a feeding ban, or (4) trap, alter and return them.   The first option is what Elyria has been doing and it is not working.  The second option, trap and remove, does not work because when you create a void, it will only be filled by other cats.  Passing a ban on feeding has not worked in most communities, as cats will prey on wildlife.  The last option, TNR, is the internationally accepted, effective and humane method of controlling feral cat populations.  It is a full management plan in which stray and feral cats, already living outdoors, are humanely trapped, vaccinated, sterilized and evaluated by veterinarians.  Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes.  Healthy adult cats, unsocialized to humans, are returned to their familiar habitat under the lifelong care of volunteers.

TNR is based on continued colony management.  Caregivers feed and monitor the cats, connect them to veterinarians when needed, and make sure any newcomers go through the same process.  A broad-based public education program is implemented to encourage spaying and neutering of companion pets, discourage outdoor habitats like brush and wood piles and open sheds that draw feral cats, and taking personal responsibility to implement TNR activities when needed.

For more information about TNR or for information about affordable spaying and neutering options, all Greg Willey at 322-4321.