Pittsylvania County addresses feral cat concerns
While cats are a great option to have as pets, feral and stray cats are not.
According to Pittslyvania County Pet Center's director, approximately 900 cats were taken in through 2019. That number represents just one hometown.
"This program is going to make a difference for the public and the cats, and it's a new direction for this county, but it's not a new direction for Virginia and for much of the rest of the country," said Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies.
Alley Cat Allies sponsors workshops throughout the country focused on Trap, Neuter, Return, or TNR. Grant funding paid for the workshop Thursday night, which means the program will not cost residents. Most recently, the Board of Supervisors gave its support for the program.
"Your average cat can have up to 12 cats a year, and we started off with a couple thousand cats out there in the wild in Pittsylvania County, and they've just been allowed to reproduce," said James McLaughlin, the director of Pittsylvania Pet Center.
While the general assembly limits animal control officers from engaging in TNR, residents and private groups are allowed to, and it's as simple as baiting cats with food into a metal cage, and taking them to your local clinic. The whole process takes just around two weeks.
"We just want to be part of that process to help more people and work together to help these animals live a happy healthy life," said McLaughlin.
While the obvious benefit is reducing the population of outside cats, in the long run it will also save the pet center and the county money. But TNR will take some time to work. Right now, it's just a matter of getting it started.
"It's not going to be an overnight thing and also it greatly depends on how much support we're getting from within the community," said McLaughlin.