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Jul 30, 2014 7:33 PM by Lauren Reimer

PACC looking to reduce number of feral cats euthanized each year

PIMA CO. - A proposed partnership between the Pima Animal Care Center and a national spay and neuter group is in the works.

Together they want to help fix thousands of feral cats, and drastically reduce the number of animals that need to be euthanized each year.

A vacant lot on Tucson's west side is home only to a feral cat colony, made up of at least nine animals.

Thanks to the efforts of a few neighbors, all of these cats were trapped, spayed or neutered, and released. That was one year ago.

"And they'll live out their lives here," explained Joan Patch. She still comes back every night to feed them.

But not all the feral cats in Pima County get that kind of treatment.

Most that are brought into PACC are put to sleep, since they are unable to be adopted out.

"What we're doing just isn't working to drastically reduce the population," said Karen Hollish, with PACC.

What she says does work, is TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Return.

"Instead of taking in 1,600 a year and euthanizing them all, we are going to be fixing 5000 of them. So we're going to be making sure that 5,000 more cats aren't making more unwanted cats," said Hollish.

Best friends animal society has promised to give nearly $1,000,000 to go towards spay and neuter surgeries for feral cats, if the county pitches in $600,000.

"We estimate that we are going to save a lot of money not having to care for all the kittens that are not going to be born," said Hollish.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona operates a TNR program too.

But TNR doesn't work for everyone. Lupe Carrizosa lives across the street from that west side colony.

She says feral cats, neutered or not, don't make very good neighbors. She wants them gone.

"Either put them in a cat shelter or euthanize them. Because they're not doing anybody any good," said Carrizosa.

With those concerns in mind, the Pima County Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposal on August 5th.

If approved, the plan would run for three years. At that time, organizers will look at feral populations to see if their numbers have gone down.

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