Society Supports TNR Method
With the ongoing discussion in Wetzel County concerning the area’s feral cat problem, the Humane Society of the United States wants to reiterate their stance in support of Trap-Neuter-Release, what they believe is the most humane and suitable solution.
According to the HSUS website, in standard TNR practice, “cats are humanely trapped and if healthy, spay/neutered, rabies vaccinated, eartipped (for identification), and returned to their community.” According to the HSUS, these programs have shown evidence of stabilizing cat numbers that eventually dwindle to zero as the cats naturally pass away. The HSUS believes “that the humane reduction and eventual elimination of unowned cat populations should be the end goal for all TNR participants and supporters.”
“TNR should be considered a humane means to an end, not a method of permanently maintaining outdoor cat populations,” states the HSUS.
Katie Lisnik, the Director of Cat Protection and Policy, of the HSUS states that there’s “nothing unique” about what the Wetzel County community is going through. “Each community has its own local challenges,” she states.
“What we try to say is that the cats are out there,” she notes. “They are doing their thing, and we can do something about it. We can be proactive, or we can just throw up our hands . . . The situation took a long time to come about, and it’s going to take a while to solve the problem. There’s no short-term solution.”
Lisnik states that people are more likely to donate to TNR, as opposed to euthanasiation. Furthermore, vets want to get involved with TNR. Lisnik believes in this case, there is a “positive and humane” solution to the problem. On the flip side, Lisnik states that euthanasia of stray cats “is not effective.” She said getting into wildlife biology, at least 50 percent of the feral cat population would have to be euthanized to get any reduction at all. “Fifty percent starts reducing the reproductive rate,” she notes, adding that a community would have to do this every year.
The HSUS website states that even though large numbers of cats are euthanized in shelters, the numbers “do not come close to reaching a tipping point to decrease outdoor cat populations.”
Also, it appears as if TNR is only avoided in particular cases, such as the situation involving the removal of several feral cats on San Nicholas Island, Calif. In this case, as many as 100 to 200 cats lived on the island, which posed a threat to certain wildlife. In December 2008, several cats were removed from the island, taken to an animal hospital, and then transported to an animal rescue called Care Sanctuary in Little Rock, Calif. According to The HSUS, in cases such as this, they do see where TNR might not be the most suitable solution. However, in most cases, they do see TNR leading to the best outcome.
Local authorities continue to brainstorm on an effective and plausible way to control the feral cat population in Wetzel County.