At Tuesday evening’s meeting of the governing body, it was decided that veterinary medical services for a program to manage the population of feral cats in Brick Township and the surrounding area would be conducted by the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.
The “Trap-Neuter-Return” program, or “T-N-R” for short, is one that involves the safe trapping of unaltered feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, then releasing them back into the location where they were first collected. The procedure is endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as the most effective and humane way to control the growth of feral cat colonies.
The Popcorn Park Zoo's services in this area were approved by the township council for a one-year contract, beginning this past Wednesday and concluding on Aug. 7, 2013.
“The price structure is attached to the resolution; $75 for spaying (or) $50 for neutering, $5 for post-operative antibiotic injections, $20 for vaccination against rabies and feline leukemia, $25 if the animal needs to be euthanized and $40 for an emergency care visit,” said Administrator Scott Pezarras.
Council President John Ducey said that of the 16 bids that went out into an applicant pool, only one was returned, which was that of the Popcorn Park Zoo.
Councilman Dan Toth asked who would bring the cats down to Lacey Township for the T-N-R treatments, and Councilman Domenick Brando replied that the transportation was covered by the volunteers on the T-N-R committee in Brick, who Brando termed as “a great group of people.”
Later, Former Councilman Michael Thulen thanked the governing body for using the applicant pool system from which the choice for the T-N-R program was decided.
“Last year, we did put together one other applicant up in Hillside, New Jersey. The program there would be to bring a trailer down and do 15 cats at a time, and it was $100 apiece, which is very expensive,” said Thulen.
Thulen explained that creating a pool of applicants allowed them to get an affordable overseer for the program, such as the Popcorn Park Zoo.
On the bid process, Thulen said that he would like to see it offered up once again later in 2012, to find additional veterinarians to be involved in the T-N-R program.
“I would like to do it again in a couple of months, to try and get ourselves up to a pool of 4 or 5 vets (for the program),” Thulen said.
The former councilman added that the local T-N-R committee has $1,000 in a rider account set aside for use in the program, and that all the T-N-R treatments for feral cats in Brick Township thus far have been taken care of by volunteers with their own money.
“We’re looking forward to being able to use this in the near future, but in a couple of months, let’s put it out again and see how many more vets we can put in this pool,” Thulen commented.