A totally new animal control program designed to improve the health of cats living in Cedaredge's feral cat colonies and to reduce the risk of disease transmission to humans is being made available to the public at the Cedaredge Police Department.
The program is called "TNR," which stands for "trap, neuter, and release." The no-kill TNR program is not itself a new animal control regimen; but, it has not been undertaken by the Town of Cedaredge before.
The program is being made possible by $1,000 town funding augmented by a $1,400 donation from Jeff and Susie Hirsh of Surface Creek Veterinary Center.
The program, for town residents only, begins by picking up one of four live cat traps at the Cedaredge Police Department. Feral cats captured through the program are taken to the Surface Creek Veterinary Center where Drs. Hirsh will spay, neuter and vaccinate the animal at no cost to the person bringing in the cat. The person who trapped the cat will then return it to the locale where it was taken. The trap is then returned to the CPD to receive a refund of the required $30 deposit.
Police Department personnel are not doing the trapping.
There are forms to submit to CPD before trapping any feral cats to be treated. The traps are numbered to facilitate tracking. Cedaredge Police Department personnel will provide complete program details and trapping instructions to those wanting to participate.
Trapped cats are not to be taken to the CPD; they are to be taken to Surface Creek Veterinary Center, 17800 Hanson Road. They must be delivered to the clinic in a town-approved live trap by a participant in the program.
Feral cats are a public health and safety issue, explained Police Chief Dan Sanders, because of the possibility of disease transmission.
There are several colonies of feral cats in town, explained Michelle Anderson, animal control officer. These colonies harbor feline diseases that can be transmitted to household pets, including some diseases that can be transmitted to dogs and humans. Rabies and plague are two examples.
The TNR program is not a feral cat eradication program. Cats trapped and treated are not killed. Anderson noted that feral cat colonies provide a service of keeping rodent populations in check.
The Cedaredge Police Department is participating in the TNR program for feral cats only. The department's policy is not to answer calls on cats unless there is an immediate serious emergency.
Cats trapped and delivered to Surface Creek Veterinary Center must not be domesticated and must have come from a feral cat colony within the Cedaredge town limits to be eligible. Program guidelines include criteria for dealing with the possibility of a domestic cat being trapped inadvertently.
The town program is not available to county residents, nor for feral cats from colonies located in the unincorporated areas. Surface Creek Veterinary Center already has a special service for dealing with feral cats from colonies located in the unincorporated areas.
"It is a small budget for this program. This program wouldn't have been possible without the help of Surface Creek Veterinary Center," Anderson said.