Jeanie Aucoin is a true believer that trap-neuter-release (TNR) is the only successful way of controlling the feral at population.
Now that the Stephenville town council has approved funding to the Southwest Coast SPCA for a feral cat TNR program to be carried out in conjunction with West Coast Veterinary Services, she’s confident their organization can get the Stephenville cat population under control.
Council approved a credit that will not exceed $10,000 at their latest regular general meeting.
Ted White, the current chair of Southwest Coast SPCA, said feral cat colonies are a problem in Stephenville, as in most communities in the province.
“We get calls all the time about cat colonies and it’s always worst during the spring time of the year because they’re having kittens,” he said.
The SPCA and the Municipal Enforcement Officer have been volunteering their time for a TNR program for some time and White said having this money available will help them carry out the program more often.
He said prior to this they’d have to hold fundraisers to get enough money to carry out the program, so now they’ll be able to move forward with it when it can be scheduled with the volunteers and veterinarians.
White said two unneutered or unspayed cats in a colony could result in an uncontrollable number of cats in just a few years.
He has been out on trappings and just recently he and Aucoin took five kittens out of a colony. Four were female. They are currently in foster care awaiting their procedure.
Aucoin has been involved with cat rescue for about six years now and now she’s in her second year with the board of the Southwest Coast SPCA, responsible for all the cat intake for the area they serve, along with the provision of foster homes.
She said they were successful in rehoming more than 300 kittens last year.
“Having this program will help out greatly with the cats who are populating outdoors. It’s just a wonderful step in the right direction,” Aucoin said.
She said in a joint effort between Southwest Coast SPCA and the Society for the Care and Protection of Animals (SCAPA) last year, they had a successful trap-neuter-release program with about six neighbours in the Stephenville Land Assembly.
Four older kittens were taken from the area and neutered and later adopted, while the mom and dad were released back to the area where the neighbours built a shelter for them and have been feeding them.
She said veterinarians Dr. Leslie McGregor and Dr. Jessica Boyd of West Coast Veterinary Services have been instrumental in helping them plan times to do a spay/neuter day, scheduling as many as possible for that time.
White said as far as numbers go, each colony could have anywhere from 20-100 cats or more, and this spring they are fully into kitten season.