Southern city thinks progressively about cat overpopulation

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 3:33pm

Most cats brought to Caddo Parish Animal Services won't ever leave. Chances are they'll be put down. This year more that 76% of the cats brought in to Caddo's Animal Services have been euthanized. That figure is near 100% for feral cats.

Rather than putting down all of those cats. Reed Ebarb of Shreveport-Bossier Animal Rescue has another solution to get the euthanasia rate down, targeted spay and neuter, along with trap-neuter-return for feral cats.

Spartanburg, South Carolina is similar in demographics to Caddo Parish, but they have been practicing T-N-R for about a year and a half and have gotten their euthanasia rate to almost zero.

But not just lives saved, according to Spartanburg's Animal Services Director Major Steve Lamb, T-N-R has actually saved the city money. "We just thought that if we had real, true, managed T-N-R colonies, that it would cut down on the number of calls we had, the number of times we had to respond, the amount of gas we were using, wear and tear on vehicles."

The city spent about a year tracking neighborhoods where cat complaints were made, and also where they had worked to T-N-R feral colonies. After just a year and a half of trap-neuter-return, things in Spartanburg have changed. Lamb elaborated, "We mapped all of our cat complaint calls, and then we overlaid all of our colonies. There were no complaint calls anywhere near any of the colonies that we had."

Technically in Caddo Parish, trap-neuter-return isn't legal because it's considered abandoning an animal. That’s exactly how it is in Spartanburg too, but animal control worked with the city to get a test ordinance to try out T-N-R. That's something that is technically possible in Caddo Parish as well.

Because now, when it comes to feral cats, Spartanburg, not Shreveport, is the next great city of the South.


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