Group seeks support for feral cat program | RecordCourier.com

Group seeks support for feral cat program

A tenth of the money raised by the Douglas Animal Welfare Group is going to trap, neuter and spay feral cats.

President Linda Garmong said the group spent $14,056 to fix 318 cats last year. She said that so far the group has captured and fixed 50 cats in the first month of the fiscal year.

Garmong presented the issue to Douglas County commissioners at their Thursday meeting.

While the group received grants in the past to help pay for the program, they hope Douglas County would help pick up the cost of the program.

"We have colonies of feral cats all around Douglas County," Garmong said. "They're great for rodent control but they are also a health issue. If left unchecked, the feral cat problem in Douglas County can just go crazy."

In Nevada, cats are considered free-roaming animals and not generally subject to county code, Community Services Director Scott Morgan said.

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Because dogs are a vector for rabies, they are generally regulated as part of the health code.

It costs about $100 to spay a female cat and $50 to neuter a male.

Garmong agreed with Commissioner Dave Nelson that it would be cheaper to fix males, but pointed out there is no way to determine the gender of the animal until after it's trapped.

She said the group only gets one shot at trapping the cats because if they've been caught once they learn to avoid the traps.

Cost isn't the only issue with trapping cats. Because the Douglas County Animal Shelter's funding is focused on dogs, the program depends on people trapping cats themselves.

The program has traps available to lend to people.

According to the group, a dozen cats could produce 2,072,514 descendents if left unaltered. Garmong said the Douglas Animal Welfare Group has 200 members and an annual budget of $143,000. Another goal is to catch kittens before they become feral so they can be adopted out.

She said the group is planning a large fundraiser this year. Donations and grants are the only source of the group's funding.