During a board meeting Wednesday, The Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center in Augusta County reported they currently have 55 cats in their shelter.
Since they’ve been open, Director Hannah Richardson, said they have consistently taken in a large number of cats.
In an effort to lower those numbers, and to help better manage the cats that come into the facility to be adopted, the shelter is exploring the idea of a trap-neuter-return program for community cats.
Community cats are cats that live outdoors, and the program would allow healthy cats to be humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to their outdoor home.
“It’s not just trapping cats and just putting them anywhere. It’s very methodical, and it’s about making sure each cat is happy, and healthy and thriving, and not putting a sick cat back out into the community,” Alice Burton, Associate Director of Animal Shelter and Animal Control Engagement at Homeward Trails, said.
The program has been shown in other localities to lower nuisance calls, cat intake and euthanasia rates.
“These are the cats that are living outside, they’re happy, they’re healthy. They really don’t belong in the shelters. Shelters are not designed for cats, and shelters should be the last resort for cats,” Burton said.
She noted that there are plenty of humane ways to keep these cats off your property. If the program is implemented, she would help educate the community.