Letter: Spays/neuters would reduce feral cat population

Published 10:17 am Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Mower County Humane Society (MCHS) has read with some surprise the many negative responses to the request by our organization to be allowed a limited spay/neuter/release on feral cats in our community.

MCHS is called upon every year by not only citizens but also law enforcement to rescue litters of kittens that have been born in the garages, sheds, and woodpiles of our community. (Over the past three years, MCHS has averaged rescuing 138 cats/year from the Austin City Pound.) Kittens need to be at least 3-years-old before they can be spayed or neutered and receive shots and then be adopted—this usually is at the age of 3 months. The result is that our facility is full when space is in great demand by the Austin community. When we are full, more kittens are left abandoned to become adults that are usually feral and most certainly are not spayed or neutered — thus creating a never ending cycle.

During the past 10 years, MCHS has sponsored 6 spay/neuter clinics per year. One clinic held with the Austin Vet Clinic spays or neuters 200 cats. This alone eliminates at least 1000 kittens. If those 1000 had been born, we would have over 6000 unwanted kittens the following year. We have made progress in reducing the numbers of unwanted felines, but we still need to do more to make the population manageable not only by MCHS, but for our community. MCHS, a 100 precent volunteer-run, non-profit group, is one of the largest shelters in Minnesota, yet we still struggle to keep up with the demand.

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By doing nothing, as the Austin Audubon has suggested, birds will be killed in greater numbers, by doing nothing, feral cats will continue to increase in numbers beyond what our humane society and law enforcement communities can handle. By doing spays/neuters whenever possible, we actively and humanely reduce the overall unwanted cat population.

Kelly Rush,

Mower County Humane Society