Council asked to match spay/neuter donation

Overpopulation of feral cats under debate

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Borough Council was approached to match a $4,000 private donation that would fund a Trap Neuter Release program to help control the borough’s feral cat overpopulation problem.

Central Pennsylvania Humane Society manager Theresa Shirley informed the board that a donation of $4,000 was made to the society by borough resident Linda Straub, who asked the council last fall to be involved in solving the issue.

Shirley asked the borough to match the donation to fund surgeries. She said the society makes $8 per surgery, each costing about $60.

“It’s not a money maker for us,” she said. “We would like to help, but unfortunately we do not get government funding. We survive on the community supporting us.”

Council member Sean Burke made a motion to put the request on the May 9 meeting agenda for discussion. However, whether there is truly an overpopulation of feral cats in the borough is not clear, he said.

Since the issue was brought up last fall, a mill in the borough that was alleged to be the center where cats would gather has been demolished. And even when it was standing, an actual count of feral cats in the area was tenuous.

“I would like to know and confirm the extent of the problem,” Burke said.

Until the problem is confirmed, the proposal is a “solution in search of a problem,” Burke said.

“Once we confirm there is a problem, this sounds like a responsible way to address it. I understand that mill contributed to the problem, but I don’t know if that solves it. If there was a feral cat problem and is not any longer, it’s a nice program but not a need. But that is why it’s on the agenda for council’s discussion, so we can ask those types of questions.”

A Trap Neuter Release program is a planned, humane program for bringing feral cats to a local clinic for spaying or neutering. The left ear is tipped during surgery to indicate the surgery had been performed and after recovery, the cats are taken back to where they were trapped for release.

“Cat colonies don’t have a long life span,” Shirley said. “Spayed and neutered colonies don’t let new animals in.”

Cats that show signs of being friendly would be put up for adoption, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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