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Program Will Help Control Brick's Cat Population

'Trap, neuter, release' program a safe way to control feral cats, officials say

Instituting a "trap, neuter, release," or TNR, program in Brick will humanely control the township's population of feral cats, officials say.

The program, which runs on a volunteer basis, involves trapping stray cats, sending them to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, then releasing them.

"We have an overpopulation of cats in town, and probably all across the United States," said Councilman Michael Thulen, who has been working with volunteers in town to help get the project off the ground.

Thulen said he's been working with "colony caretakers," volunteers in town who are responsible for getting the TNR program started in their neighborhoods. The colony caretakers must take classes to learn about the program and how it is administered. After cats are spayed or neutered, the colony caretakers look after the cat until it is released.

According to the Feral Cat Caretakers' Coalition, TNR programs are usually more successful than trapping and killing feral cats since TNR is an ongoing effort that prevents future births, rather than a short-term population control effort where many cats are left to breed.

Brick officials are in the process of establishing a pool of veterinarians who will perform the surgeries. The veterinarian fees will be paid through the township, and fundraising efforts are underway to raise money to defray the cost.

"As the cats are collected in groups, 10 or 15 at a time, we would go to this veterinary pool," Thulen said. "They would be paid by the donations and then invoiced through the township. Hopefully, because it is the township writing the check, the vets will give us a good price."

"We’re going to try to avoid using any taxpayer money," Thulen added.

Those who have already started the program say they can already see results.

"We have been seeing tremendous results in birth reductions in our colonies," said Adrianne Sarno, a colony caretaker who lives in the Kentwood Village development. "It’s a positive for not only the animals, but for all of us in our communities."

Thulen said those interested in participating in the program should contact the Brick Township Recreation Department at 732-262-1076.

"The intention is, hopefully, by the end of this year to actually start trapping, neutering and releasing cats around town," Thulen said.

BW August 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I know. As I said before I rescue the babies I find, but the adults are very hard to catch, but I never leave food out for them, because either the squirrels get to it, or the other cats tell their friends and you wind up with 100 cats in your yard.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman August 22, 2011 at 10:32 PM
They are killing Feral Dogs down in North Carolina...seriously. We reallyneed to address S/N in a big way...We can't "fix" this current crop of Ferals, but we can prevent it in the future. I would like to see Banfield get involved (Petco's vet services) Does anyone know what they are charging for a s/n procedure? As a pet-industry leader, Petco could step up to the plate and make a big difference. I can also find ASPCA's list of low cost S/N clinics which might be good for a follow up article.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman August 22, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Just to clarify...we unfortunately have to deal with our current crop of Ferals in a Humane manner and just prevent a future generation. I used the word "Fixed" in an unintended way...sorry.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman August 22, 2011 at 10:35 PM
Crystal, there are low cost options out there. You did the right thing by adopting and "fixing" your kitten. Hope you are enjoying her.
BW August 22, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Good question Lisa. I will have to call tomorrow and find out. I know the "going price" here is about 250 for a female and 350 if you want it declawed. I believe it is somewhere around 150 for a male, shot of course are extra. Which brings me to another point. If they are going to trap s/n release, shouldnt the cats also get a rabies vaccine? I know they are only good for 2 years, but would help stop the spread of rabies, for a while at least.
BW August 22, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Lisa, I believe the ASPCA can give a list of vets who do it at low cost for those on medicare and medicaid, the same if you need to give up your pet if you cant afford to care for it, MOST shelters will waive the intake fee for those on medicare and medicaid, and will ask if it is possible to give any kind of donation, like food, a few dollars something like that. That is another point, the shelters are always looking for food donations, if you lose your pet, please take what ever pet supplies you have to your local shelter, or if you get a good deal on bagged food, drop some off.
BW August 22, 2011 at 10:48 PM
John using your logic, then human beings are an invasive species. We are encrouching on wild animals natural habitat. Dogs are a different species and it would not be prudent to release them into the wild, especially breeds like pitbulls and acitas(sp). Feral cats do not attack humans, where feral dogs do. Tastes like chicken? Now that is a sick statement
Lisa Begin-Kruysman August 22, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Me-I have approached Banfiled about partnering with me and my work. Every day I have these discussions with people across the nation. Yes, Rabies needs to be addressed (vaccine is a must). I work with the Pet Postcard Project to help feed homeless animals and will be collecting linens and blankets for homeless animals on behalf of the Covers for Critters program at Brick's Dog Fest in Sept. If you really do want to help, there is always a way...Let me know what Banfiled tells you and I'll follow up on my quest!
BW August 23, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Nope! Dinosaurs were here before humans. Then came bears and bobcats and birds etc. There were no humans here until about until about 500ad when the clovis people settled here. Then came the indians, and the vikings came around 1000 ad, and then Columbus in 1492 and you know he rest. But according to history human beings are not native to NJ, nor north America for that matter.
parkway August 23, 2011 at 02:00 AM
I happen to be feeding a colony in Brick. These cats did not ask to be born, some of them are very sweet and others more frightened. They need to be spade and neutered and then released..
Dan Toth August 23, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Seeing this from the "inside", I can truly say that councilman Thulen is doing a fantastic job with this, but the volunteers behind the scene are the real hard workers. I am not a cat fan... I love dogs... however, I see this as a humane approach and long-term thinking. It's working at the Atlantic City boardwalk. From the info I received, if u just remove them quickly, others will fill the void... it needs to be done methodically and persistently in order to be effective.
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 03:39 AM
There will be a hell-raising in Brick like you've never seen if any tax dollars are wasted on this. Trust me.
Dan Toth August 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Mark, there are already lots of funds that are uses for these animals already, as the jersey shore animal center is on retainer by the town for animal control services. The TNR program should provide a long-term savings.
Dan Toth August 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Used, not uses... small keypad... sorry!
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Dan, is not animal control services a fancy modern title for a dog catcher? There has always been a dog catcher. But picking up feral cats, paying to have them spayed/neutered and letting them go again, with a good chance of our tax dollars paying for it really makes me angry. As it is, there is no possible way I can keep cats out of my yard. They spray urine, they defecate in my vegetable garden, and they CAN spread disease. Can YOU afford to pay to fence the three sides of my property where the cats enter? Not until that happens will this TNR program get my blessing. It is a struggle to pay the taxes, Dan. We don't need you guys thinking up faster ways to spend the money on things like this. It's like a kick in the pants and a slap in the face at the same time.
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM
I call it (TNR) gross misappropriation of funds.
Mike Thulen August 23, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I will make only one comment. The use of tax dollars will only be used to do any paper work involved for resolutions, collecting bids and these adminstrative type work. When the cost of trapping, nuetering and spaying are involved this with only be payed by donations given to the TNR committee. I do not desire to have any costs put on the taxpayers of Brick, but I am a realist and understand the cost of adminstrative work will be done by Township employees (though minor).
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I volunteer for the STK program.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman August 23, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Here is a Link for those looking for solutions. http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html#states#states
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Thanks for setting that straight, Mike.
clamdigger August 23, 2011 at 03:05 PM
What happens when these animals start dying off? Capture them and put them down, it's better than living a tick & flea infested life along w/ worms as well as rabies.
Mark Story Jenks August 23, 2011 at 05:23 PM
The cat people have kind hearts and good intentions, undoubtedly. But maybe they are killing the cats with kindness.
Anthony DellaFave August 24, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Feral cats are not a part of natures plan. They kill birds, squirrels, baby rabbits, chipmunks and mice. The number of animals and birds they kill is huge. A PBS show indicated that one cat was capable of killing 10,000 birds and animals. Then of course you have to deal with rabies and disease. It's best to eliminate the feral cats in a humane manner. The proposed plan just dooms them to a miserable existence.
Mark Story Jenks August 24, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Well said.
Ann Haber September 04, 2011 at 07:00 PM
I love cats and it is commendable that many of you want to help with the cat over population problem! However, TNR is far from an ideal solution. It sounds really nice to lots of people. But is rarely if ever done on a scale that actually makes it "better than doing nothing". As some of you have acknowledged: we need to get our pet cat population under control . Several irresponsible folks with fertile outdoor cats can easily make up for hundreds of feral cats that are fixed. Why not spend the time and money to get all the pet owners in the community on board with fixing their pets first? I am also concerned about communities implementing TNR because it often means feral cats become classified as "unowned" pets that are cared for by volunteers. There needs to be as much accountability for these cats as pet owners by law are supposed to have (like keeping the animals under control and keeping rabies shots updated). Rarely are there funds and provisions taken to ensure and enforce colony compliance- it is often voluntary.. Too often communities implement TNR without properly examining the problem first and they measure success by counting only part of the actual cat population (colony cats and shelter intake). Many feral cats are not in colonies and don't get counted. How do you really know you are successful?
Ann Haber September 04, 2011 at 07:01 PM
If you can't stand the thought of euthanasia, I personally know folks who help out feral cats by trapping, altering and removing them to enclosures in their own back yards. Yes, it may be a little more stressful at first, but cats are resilient creatures and can adapt! It is also safer for everyone involved.
Ann Haber September 04, 2011 at 07:44 PM
The "vacuum effect" is a myth as described by proponents of TNR. Yes, if you remove animals from a favorable location, neighbors can move in. But why is removing them slowly any different? Why not make that location unfavorable to begin with(like properly storing trash) and simply remove the cats - if there is no food, why would other cats move back in? And what about these "other" cats? How does managing some cats control their numbers? Please note, rarely are wild animals managed this way - because it is expensive, inefficient and not really a long term solution. For example, if you don't want lots of rats and raccoons hanging around your house - you keep your home and yard clean and garbage sealed up (works well for bears too). If you want fewer deer hanging around your yard, you don't put out extra food for them. Also, rarely if ever is TNR done on a scale large enough to solve the problem. In fact, many folks who practice TNR use words like "stabilize" rather than "reduce" or "eliminate" the population- and they tend to measure success on an individual colony level. Like trap and remove, if you don't catch and fix every cat, the problem can persist. And, as long as the original source of feral cats exists (abandoned or unaltered free-roaming pets) the problem cannot be solved. TNR doesn't sound like a "long term solution to me. It is more like a very expensive and time-consuming way to have more pet cats on public or other people's private property.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman September 04, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Ann...you are right on track with your views on spay and neuter. I called our Banfield Office to see if they would like to participate in the upcoming Dog Fest Event in Brick to help promote low cost S & N options. I spoke to Myrna who referred me to Elga. They seemed to be all ears until I proposed that they join our community for this endeavor. Granted S and N is a surgical procedure not to be taken lightly, but I was very disappointed in their follow up...ah...which would be NONE!! I called and left my home phone no., my cell...and my e mail not once bu twice, but still no response. So you see, it takes a very caring and genuine Veterinarian Group to make a difference....I will keep on looking. Until then, I can't recommend our Banfield Practice as a caring one on this front.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman September 04, 2011 at 11:29 PM
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about low cost S/N
Mark Story Jenks January 31, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Readers,please take time for this: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/science/that-cuddly-kitty-of-yours-is-a-killer.html

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