Feral felines spared euthanasia | NevadaAppeal.com

Feral felines spared euthanasia

by F.T. Norton
F.T. Norton/Nevada AppealA kitten awaits adoption Thursday at the Animal Shelter on Butti Way. Animal Services Director Pat Wiggins said his office, in connection with the Carson Tahoe SPCA, has started a program in which feral cats are captured, spayed or neutered and released back onto the streets.

Feral cats in Carson City will no longer be euthanized now that Animal Services has begun spaying and neutering them and releasing them back onto the streets.

“We decided to take some grants that we have, and take some grants that the Carson Tahoe SPCA has, and start to trap, neuter and release the cats,” said Animal Control Supervisor Pat Wiggins.

Last year, 250 feral or injured cats were euthanized by animal control. The only time dogs are euthanized is when the euthanasia is court-ordered or they are found suffering from an untreatable ailment, said Wiggins. Last year, 47 dogs were put down.

Since the project began in June, 15 cats have been neutered and released.

Wiggins said the problem with feral cats is that they can’t be tamed. And unaltered feral cats wreak havoc on neighborhoods, fighting with other cats and reproducing at a remarkable rate.

The Feral Cat Coalition of San Diego estimates that there are over 60 million stray cats in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates there are an additional 5 million domestic cats abandoned annually.

Wiggins said the shelter houses an average of 16 dogs a day, while the cat population sits at more than 40 a day and is increasing.

If someone is concerned about a feral cat in their neighborhood, the residents should trap the cat and bring it into the Animal Shelter at 3770 Butti Way, said Wiggins. Animal control officers will not trap feral cats for the program. Once the animal is received, it will be spayed or neutered, and given an ear tag. Then it will be released back into the neighborhood from where it came.

To obtain a trap, people can purchase one from a feed store, or for a $40 deposit, use one from Animal Control.

“This is a good solution to a big problem,” said Wiggins. “This will drastically reduce the number of cats we euthanize.”