Mass target TNR (Trap Neuter Return) Community Program in Dekalb County.
Best Friends has been officially helping the cats of DeKalb County, Georgia, through our cat initiatives since August, 2011. The cornerstone of this community cat program is the public/private partnership, where DeKalb County Animal Services and Enforcement http://www.dekalbcountyanimalservices.com/ releases the community cats (aka feral cats) to the program where they are fixed by Lifeline Animal Project lifelineanimal.org and then returned to the community from whence they came– the program also brings other animal welfare organizations to the table to help address the whole situation as strategically as possible. A recent mass trap-neuter-return project united forces to help spay and neuter almost 60 cats where it was desperately needed, a low rent apartment complex.
Back in April, the DeKalb Community Cat Program added “field work” to their services. Previously the program was just taking cats that had already been picked up by animal control and transferred into the program from the shelter. Now, we are working more closely with the community by going out to address cat nuisance calls, where we’re picking up the cats directly from the streets, getting them spayed/neutered and returned. By foregoing the shelter system altogether, we’re helping streamline the process, while keeping the shelter’s cages open to help more cats and cultivating relationships with the people who will, ultimately, make this program a sustainable success.
“The field work will allow us to work more cohesively in the community and have a greater impact on the number of cats we reach,” says Janet Samuel, community cat coordinator. “To ramp up our efforts we’re also doing some mass TNR projects, our first one was done at the beginning of July and went without a hitch thanks to partnering with SNAP-2 IT. They provided the logistics, brought volunteers and also paid for the trapping food and recovery services post surgeries, while we paid for the surgeries, it is a wonderful partnership for the cats.”
Mass TNR, it’s a Snap!
The mass TNR project which saw dozens of cats all fixed and returned, went beautifully thanks to the work of Kyla Jones, director of SNAP 2 IT. www.snap2it.org – Their organization is dedicated to increasing save rates for the area’s municipal shelters through spay and neuter services, which they offer for free to the public. Since their inception in 2009, they have trapped-neutered-returned over 1,500 cats and Kyla understands the importance of focusing resources to get a whole colony fixed at once.
“This high volume TNR project targeted five apartment complexes, all under the same management company,” shares Kyla. “They were very cooperative, they’ve been doing spot trapping, where 2 – 7 cats have been fixed per week by a colony caregiver, but it wasn’t making a dent in their cat populations.”
SNAP 2-IT also brought some amazing volunteers to make the most of the event. “I came out to help because cat overpopulation is a problem that has to be addressed and trap/spay/neuter/release is the most realistic way to control this,” shares volunteer Farrar Seymour. “To ignore these innocent animals, in my eyes, is just as cruel as killing them. If we do not work to control the rate of reproduction in feral cat communities, we are absolutely giving them a sentence of suffering and death.”
“TNR helps slow the process of over-population before it begins and it is very rewarding to know that is the service I am helping provide these animals,” says Helen Preston, on why she volunteered for the event.
The program will continue to have more mass TNR projects and looks forward to building on its success rate: in 2012, 539 cats were fixed and January 2013 saw the first month where no healthy cats were killed in the shelter.
Volunteer to help SNAP with TNR programs and other help. To apply, click here.
For more information on how you can help community cats in your area, click here.