This week, Thursday, April 15, through Sunday, April 18, the Bergen Spay and Neuter Alliance is returning to the City of Delta for a four-day spay and neuter clinic. The main goal: combatting Delta’s feral cat population, which is seen to be out of control.
Kristin Des Marais, executive director of Bergen, was on the call for the April 6 Delta City Council meeting to explain the alliance’s goal and to ask for a previously requested contribution of $5,000.
As per the designation in the city budget, council actually agreed to contribute $5,500.
“We’ve been helping out in your area for over a year now and we’ve been able to assist a little over a thousand animals,” Des Marais said.
According to Bergen’s letter to the council, that number is actually 1,013 and consists of 181 dogs and 832 cats. From this experience, Des Marais commended the city for its attitude in the process.
“I have to say on a side note, you guys are probably — out of all the places I go in Colorado — you’re my favorite,” Des Marais said. “There’s just something about your attitude and really working together. You guys really have an amazing community.”
The four-day overall clinic, according to Des Marais, is to include a two-day dog clinic and a two-day cat clinic. While the cat portion will focus heavily on the capturing and neutering or spaying of feral cats, which are then released if truly feral, the community pets portion is still intact, allowing residents to bring in their pets for a spaying or neutering far below the cost of a regular veterinary appointment.
Des Marais said that Bergen hopes to partner with the City of Delta in the future, along with the Royce-Hurst Humane Society as the city’s official animal shelter, but that they like to get a jump on things in the spring months before reproduction picks up.
“Cats can actually reproduce starting at 16 weeks,” Des Marais said. The cats can be young. They can have 4-5 litters per year and they can turn around and get pregnant again as soon as they give birth. According to Des Marais, “they’re very much like rabbits.”
Sam Ellison, the City of Delta’s animal enforcement officer, reported to council that undocumented colonies of feral cats are all over the city, with massive colonies of several thousand stretching out across Dodge Street and Palmer Street. People tend to feed them in their alley ways as well, Ellison said, which causes excess debris.
According to Des Marais, the Bergen Spay and Neuter Alliance has no intention to come in and “take over,” but instead to partner with the city and Royce-Hurst to effectively fight the feral cat problem.