Lately, NJ has been in the news quite a bit regarding feral cats and TNR. For the most part, the state seems to be leading the way in implementing TNR programs; however, Mt. Olive (whom I recently blogged about) is still practicing trap and kill.
Helping ferals in NJ is the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance via their Project TNR. According to the group’s website, their project is “endorsed by the NJ Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Animal Welfare, the National Animal Control Association & the Humane Society of the United States.” The group’s mission is to make New Jersey a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) friendly state, by working with caregivers and municipalities.
Point Pleasant Beach has also adopted a TNR approach to their feral cat situation. In a recent news article, Karen Mills, borough board of health secretary, said this, “We wouldn't really know the number of cats being picked up until after they were euthanized. One time we received a bill for 37 cats euthanized and it hit us. It was just very upsetting.” So last year, Councilwoman Kristine Tooker began to form an animal welfare committee to examine ways of controlling the population in a humane way. “I just thought something needs to change because what everyone is doing (trap and kill) isn't working,” Tooker said. Tooker researched TNR and presented it to the committee, and within a few months an ordinance was passed to implement TNR. Point Pleasant Beach is now feral cat friendly.
Just to name a few more feral friendly groups and cities in NJ: Burlington County Feral Cat Initiative, the City of Cape May, Atlantic City Boardwalk, Neighborhood Feral Cat Initiative in Hudson County, Animal Welfare Federation of NJ. For more organizations that support feral cats and TNR programs in NJ, check out our CAT Directory: http://www.saveacat.org/catlinks.html#NJ.
Unfortunately, Mt. Olive’s officials do not feel the same about TNR as many of their fellow NJ officials. A group of Mt. Olive residents has been trying to persuade officials to adopt a TNR program as a way of managing the town’s feral and stray cat population for the past several months. However, thus far they have been unsuccessful and the town is currently practicing trap and kill.
In a recent news article, a group of township residents will be bringing its plea to prevent the euthanization of feral cats to voters on the November election ballot if the council continues to reject their proposal. Last year, Mount Olive impounded 181 cats, 141 of which were euthanized at a cost of $18,000 to the township. “TNR is doing a public service with private donations to save the town money,” said Michelle Lerner, founder of the project. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Mt. Olive decides to take the humane approach to managing feral and stray cats or if they decide to continue to trap and kill.