Thursday, April 08, 2010

Fairfax County Animal Shelter Embraces TNR

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia has said goodbye to trap and kill and hello to TNR! Michelle Hankins, community outreach program manager says removing the cats from an area does not work because cats quickly move in and fill the vacant territory. Instead, she says the shelter has been educating and training the public on how to care for feral cat colonies and ensure the cats are sterilized and vaccinated.

According to The Washington Post, “sterilization services are funded through Fairfax County's share of the ‘Animal Friendly’ Virginia license plate fees [and] since its inception in October 2008, the program has trained more than 150 volunteers and processed more than 500 cats.”

“There's a pretty amazing network of interested and compassionate and concerned citizens who really want to try and solve the issue of outdoor cats," Hankins said. "We're trying to work with neighborhoods and communities and individuals so that the cats can remain where they are and the residents can peacefully coexist with them."

The Post also cites “the results of a long-term study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association in 2003 [which] found a 66 percent population decrease in a managed cat colony on the campus of the University of Central Florida over an 11-year period for which researchers monitored the animals.”

Thanks to studies like these and to biologists who explain why eradication attempts are not the solution to cat homelessness, more and more county shelters are adopting TNR programs and discontinuing the practice of trap and kill. Whether or not individuals “like” cats, the American public does not want them to be killed; they want cats to be cared for in a humane non-lethal manner. And as more and more county-run shelters get on board with TNR, it will make it a lot easier for feral cat rescues already practicing TNR to save even more cats. It makes more sense for these two groups to work together rather than against each other…slowly cat homelessness will be reduced. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michelle Hankins is a true hero. She's saved countless lives of animals. We should have sainthood for people that help other animals outside of the human species. If we did, she would surely be added to the list of saints.