Feral cat trapping and neutering to start in Kent County in September

DOVER — Kent Levy Court commissioners approved a $10,000 grant on Tuesday to Faithful Friends Animal Society to launch a “trap-neuter-return” pilot program in the county. The proposal, agreed upon earlier in May, will allow the group to “service” an estimated 200 feral cats in Kent County at $50 per cat.

Faithful Friends Animal Society notes that its practices (that they’ve employed in the state since their inception in 2001) are based on a nationally recognized model with a track record of reducing overpopulation.

First, feral colonies are identified, then the organization sends experienced volunteers to humanely trap the cats.

After the cats are trapped, they will be transported to the organization’s shelter in Newport.

Faithful Friends notes that its shelter includes a veterinary clinic managed by a full-time veterinary director.

There, the feral cats will be sterilized, given rabies and distemper inoculations, and treated for intestinal parasites.

Injured or unstable cats will be given medical treatment, kittens and adult cats who’ve been determined to be adoptable will be made available and the rest will be returned to their colony of origin.

The plan also includes “ear tipping” the cats for easy field identification, outreach and education efforts targeted at the community and the building of a map to identify Kent County’s problem areas.

Commissioners agreed that neutering feral cats was likely the best preventative approach to reducing unwanted litters, free roaming animals and problematic behaviors.

They noted that cat colonies that reproduce quickly can often lead to animal cruelty and other complaints.

On Tuesday night, Faithful Friends Animal Society development manager Michelle Neef briefed the Levy Court on the organizations immediate plans.

“Organizers set up five volunteer sessions and we were able to interest 15 local volunteers to support the program,” she said. “We’ve identified four critical areas in the county that we plan to begin working in by mid-September.”

The four selected locations in the county weren’t disclosed due to concern of residents intentionally “dumping” unwanted cats in these areas.

Ms. Neef believes the organization will be able to trap and treat about 15 feral cats per week. Faithful Friends Animal Society agreed to provide monthly reports of their progress and an official update in December. Ms. Neef says the pilot program will likely be completed by next March.

In their earlier May meeting with Faithful Friends Animal Society, commissioners noted that they’d consider a second grant if the organization’s methods proved to be effective.

For residents interested in volunteering or reporting a colony, call 302-427-8514 or email info@faithfulfriends.us.

To learn more about the organization, visit faithfulfriends.us/

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com.


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