On October 17, 2016 Spartanburg County passed Resolution # R-16-130 allowing Spartanburg County to establish a Trap, Neuter and Return program for Feral/Community Felines. Many times these felines are locally referred to as outside or barn cats.
What is TNR? Feral cats/Community cats also know as outside cats will be trapped. The days scheduled for trapping are Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. They are transported to Animal Allies (nonprofit low cost spay/neutering clinic) within Spartanburg County. While at Animal Allies, the felines will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear tipped. After recovery, the felines are returned to the location they were trapped allowing them to live out their nature life.
These felines may or may not be a part of a colony. This method is used around the world and is well documented to improve the life of the cat, improve its relationship with humans, and over time, reduce the number of cats in their colony.
What does TNR mean for the citizens of Spartanburg County?
The program is designed to be a humane way to reduce the overall population of feral cats within Spartanburg County. The program also allows Spartanburg County the ability to vaccinate feral cats living among its citizens. Hopefully, the program will save tax payers dollars as the program grows.
Will there still be feral cats? Yes, there will always be some irresponsible citizen out there who allows cats to breed at an alarming rate, or that person who abandons a litter of kittens and they eventually become feral.
What is the procedure?
Citizens will continue to call Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Animal Control Division. Animal Control officers will take a trap out to the location; once a feral cat is caught, it will be transported to Animal Allies for the procedure and afterwards returned to the location from which it was picked up.
Citizens with private traps may contact Animal Allies to ensure there is enough space and allotted funds to conduct the procedure. The citizen must understand they will need to return, pick up the feral cat and bring it back to the location. In the event that no one returns, the cat will be brought back to the location by another entity.
What information do we need to make the Community Cats Program successful?
The key to TNR is to return the cat back in its own territory with its own colony mates – not to just release the cat anywhere. Community cats become well adapted to their territory and can live safely in their chosen environment. The present home of a community cat colony is the optimal place for the cat to be returned as it has probably been living there for some time. It is critical that complete and accurate information is gathered on where the cat was found and trapped.
What are the goals and hopes for TNR in Spartanburg County?
The main goal for our program is to reduce the overall number of feral/community/outside cats in our county. We all need to understand this will be not a quick solution but over time it will reduce the number of cats roaming around.
The hope is to one day making this a Spartanburg County citizen based program. Meaning: Citizens will be able to sign out traps from a location, trap the feline, and take the feline to a location to have altered. To get to this point, we will need to secure funds by commercial or individual donations, grants or whatever form.
Working together, we can make Spartanburg County the desired place to be in the Upstate.