Lane County Veterinary Medical Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION:
APRIL 11, 2009 Adrienne Webb
Director of Communications
Local veterinarian group launches free project to spay and neuter feral cats
EUGENE — Members of Lane County Veterinary Medical Association (LCVMA) will help catch, sterilize and then release roughly 500 feral cats in 2009, in an effort to help reduce the spread of feline disease and curb the feline overpopulation plaguing Lane County.
With materials and sponsorships provided by the city of Eugene, Greenhill Humane Society and Lane County Animal Services, LCVMA members will donate their labor to spay and neuter between 10 and 15 cats each week at Greenhill’s surgery suite. Greenhill volunteers will assist LCVMA members as they prepare the cats for surgery, administering anesthesia and tipping the ears for identification. Post operation, the cats will be monitored until being released to their capture sight the following day.
“As we head into spring, spaying and neutering is a critical part of limiting unwanted pets in our community and ultimately reducing the number of homeless animals that enter our shelter,” said Tom Howard, supervisor for Lane County Animal Services. “We recognize that feral cats play a significant part in pet overpopulation.”
Feral cats roam rural areas in colonies, and often suffer from early mortality, illness, infection or starvation. These colonies reproduce at alarming rates and spread viral, bacterial and fungal diseases to humans and other cats. Typically, the feral cats inhabit abandoned buildings such as warehouses and barns, but they do come in contact with family pets and humans. This contact poses the threat of an unpleasant encounter or disease transfer to humans and domesticated pets. Similarly, feral cats can disrupt bird, fish and small mammal populations by attacking and eating them. The most viable and common solution to overpopulation and disease transfer is
the catch and release process many animal and veterinary organizations are adopting. Greenhill volunteers place traps in areas with large feral cat colonies, eventually capturing them and bringing them to the surgery suite for sterilization. Its success is in large part due to public support, minimal expense and a visible decrease in population.
In addition to decreasing disease and overpopulation, the project will promote positive spillover effects for other organizations such as Greenhill Humane Society and Lane County Animal Shelter. “The reduction in the number of stray cats will help to decrease the numbers of animals in local shelters and possibly increase the adoption rates of those organizations,” said Sara Laroux, LCVMA president.
Members of LCVMA will continue the project for the remainder of the year, making it an ongoing service to the community given public support and sufficient funding for materials. The association is also sponsoring 16 of Lane County Animal Services’ adoption advertisements placed in the The Register-Guard this year.
Spay and neuter project
A feral cat recovers from surgery at Greenhill Humane Society.
A volunteer monitors feral cats as they come out of surgery.