Josh Dunlap, a volunteer for Clarion PAWS, addressed Clarion Borough Council earlier this month to propose a trap-neuter-and-release (TNR) program.
“We have decided to propose to (council) a trap, neuter, return program,” explained Dunlap, who is an owner of multiple cats himself.
“We are offering our labor and trapping assistance for Clarion Borough cats because it’s typically a problem within the borough. Many complaints that I have gotten are from 990 East Main Street,” Dunlap continued.
TNR is a process in which volunteers set live traps to catch “community cats,” which are cats that are feral, strays, or abandoned who roam outside.
The goal is to trap intact cats and have them spayed or neutered by a veterinarian. This helps control population and improves the cat’s overall health.
“We’re offering our labor to do this,” Dunlap explained. “We are hoping you guys could sponsor cats at $75.00 per cat up to 25 a month to be fixed between North Fork (Veterinary Clinic) and Frankie’s Friends in New Kensington.”
The program is utilized in several other areas; however, the amount a municipality invests in the TNR program varies.
According to a published article on WGAL, officials in Mechanicsburg, Pa., agreed to sponsor efforts to spay and neuter the cats at a cost of $40.00 per animal in October 2022.
“The $75.00 also includes ear chipping and rabies vaccines, as well,” Dunlap noted.
Council president Carol Lapinto was the first to respond, saying: “I think this is something that would need to be discussed within the committees this month.”
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” council member Rachel Roberts suggested.
“Yes, it’s just funding…” Lapinto replied.
“Oh, yes, funding, but I know there have been quite a few people that have had issues,” Roberts responded.
On Monday, August 15, Lapinto updated exploreClarion.com after members of the borough were able to discuss the topic further.
“Well, Number One, we just don’t have the budget for it,” Lapinto said. “It’s currently not in the budget and would have to be something to be addressed next year.”
According to Lapinto, the estimation is that the program could end up costing the borough over $22,000.00 per year
“PAWS is a wonderful organization, and I support it completely, but we will discuss it and have it put on the agendas,” Lapinto added.
According to a published case study, an examination was conducted on the impact of a TNR program on a population of community cats living on a two-mile section of a pedestrian trail adjacent to the San Francisco Bay.
The study indicated that “an initial population of 175 cats declined by 99.4% over the 16-year program period. Of the 258 total cats enrolled between 2004 and 2020, only one remained at the end of the program period.”
With “community cats” becoming an issue in Clarion Borough, Clarion PAWS are currently unable to accept any cats or kittens.
A post on PAWS’ website stated: “It breaks our hearts, because we’d like to help every cat in need, but we just don’t have the space, the finances, the medical help or the volunteers to take on any more. If you need assistance with food or need a humane trap, we would be glad to help.”
Meanwhile, Tri-County Animal Rescue Center (TCARC) in Shippenville rescues needy cats—and dogs—and provides them with care until they can be placed in a home.
TCARC’s spay/neuter surgeries are done through Fix ‘N Wag’N mobile unit, which is fully equipped with a 30-foot surgical unit to perform over 30 surgeries a day. However, this spay/neuter package costs $85.00 and has not been offered to the borough council as a sponsorship.
In lieu of a Clarion Borough TNR program sponsorship, click here for the seven basic steps to follow on doing do-it-yourself-TNR project.
Volunteers are needed at both TCARC and Clarion PAWS.
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