Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good News for Ferals in Vegas!

Best Friends Feral Cat Program
Everyone’s a Winner in Vegas

February 13, 2009 : 3:37 PM
Especially the community cats, thanks to implementation of new Clark County ordinance

By Cathy Scott, Best Friends staff writer

The recent return of two feral cats from the Clark County shelter to their original colonies was a historic occasion. It marked the first community cats to be released under the county’s new ordinance, which now makes it legal in the Las Vegas valley to trap, neuter and return – or TNR – feral cats.

It also makes Nevada one of the nearly 40 states that include TNR language in laws intended to protect community cats.

The young shelter cats were handed over to representatives with Spay Our Strays, or S.O.S. - an animal rescue association - who, in turn, after they were neutered, returned the cats to their communities.

It was such a momentous occasion that those who returned the cats marked the exact time – 1:32 p.m. on January 15 – the cats were back living in their respective colonies.

According to the county’s website, the program’s goal is to “reduce the number of feral, abandoned and unwanted cats” through the management of feral cat colonies. Officials estimate more than 200,000 cats roam free in Clark County.

The measure, passed by county commissioners in October 2008, paved the way for protecting homeless cats who would otherwise have been put down – a true testament to the goal of No More Homeless Pets.

Those who helped from the sidelines to make this happen could not be happier.

“Cases like this one help other government agencies see the benefit of working with non-profit to make a difference for the big picture,” says Shelly Kotter, Best Friends’ feral cat program manager. “This is big for the TNR movement.”

Gregory Castle, a Best Friends co-founder who was in contact with county officials as the measure’s language was being drawn up, agreed.

“It feels great that this ordinance passed,” he says. “It is certainly good to see municipalities acknowledging the viability of TNR as a way of controlling their community cat colonies.”

Moreover, Castle says, the ordinance carves out a way for community cat caregivers to register colonies while at the same time working hand-in-hand with animal control agencies to save the cats.

In other words, he says, it’s a win-win situation for all – especially the cats.

► To register your colony online, go to the Clark County Feral Cats website.
Any questions, e-mail or call 702-400-6390

► Join the Feral Cat Campaign on the Best Friends Network for more about how you can help in your own community.

Posted by Jennifer Hayes, Best Friends staff
Photo credit: taken by Clay Myers, Best Friends photographer

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