LETTER: How to compassionately control cats in Walton County

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 03:55 PM.

The unadoptable cats are then returned to their familiar area where a feeder feeds them every day. They live out their lives without producing any additional unwanted kittens. TNR averages one-third to one-half the cost to animal control agencies to trap, hold, euthanize and dispose of feral cats. It also frees up animal control resources for other work.

Studies have proven Trap/Neuter/Return to be the single, most effective method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least cost to government and residents. At the same time, it provides the best life for the cats themselves and creates harmony and goodwill within communities.

 TNR is not the same as Trap and Remove. Trapping and removing feral cats sounds like a simple operation but as a nation we have been trapping and removing (and killing in shelters) feral cats for decades with no effect whatsoever on reducing their numbers. No one knows exactly how many feral cats live in the United States, but the number is estimated in the tens of millions. Communities that practice the outdated “trap and remove” approach have as many or more feral cats as ever.  When feral cats are removed from an area, other cats move in to take advantage of any food source. 

Surrounding counties, such as Okaloosa and Bay, support TNR programs for the control of the feral cat population. Residents of Walton County should spend their time and energy constructively encouraging our County Commissioners to establish a TNR program in our county. 

TNR and the animal cruelty case in Freeport are two totally different entities, and it is unfortunate that they are being seen as the same and as a way to rationalize the shooting of a helpless cat. Shooting and killing a helpless animal is not acceptable under any circumstances unless a person is threatened with bodily harm. 

Residents should become more knowledgeable about TNR and make every attempt at controlling the situation in their neighborhood in a positive, civilized, educated manner. Animal cruelty is not acceptable and certainly not the answer to controlling feral cats.

Animal cruelty is against the law and no rationalization will ever excuse this brutal, senseless act. 

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