Cities to get free feline trap-neuter-return service with $10,000 grant.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
Volusia County Animal Services is set to receive a $10,000 grant from the nonprofit organization, known as Franklin’s Friends, which will allow the agency to waive the $45 fee incurred when residents from local municipalities bring in stray felines for trap-neuter-return (TNR) service.
Franklin’s Friends is an organization that helps support animal welfare programs in the eight-county Central Florida area, including Volusia.
According to a release, TNR, or humanely trapping stray cats for spay or neuter surgery and then releasing them back into their environment, is a proven program that helps reduce the feline population and cat euthanasia. Volusia County Animal Services was already providing the service for free for stray cats brought in from anywhere in unincorporated Volusia County.
The Volusia County Animal Services animal care clinic has completed 1,739 TNR surgeries in 2021 and has performed more than 500 surgeries in 2022. The grant money will cover the cost of trap-neuter-release services for about 500 or more cats that roam free in the community and allow municipalities to utilize the service for free.
While in the Animal Care Clinic, community cats brought in for TNR service also receive vaccinations against rabies and distemper before being returned to their removal location so that they can continue to enjoy their lives outdoors without reproducing and adding to the animal over-population. Community cats that go through the TNR program also have their ears notched for identification.
“The county’s TNR program already has shown proven results,” said Adam Leath, Director of Volusia County Animal Services. “The good news is that the grant funds will enable us to provide even more service. Every TNR surgery is an animal life saved.”
Volusia County has already noticed a decrease in the number of stray/feral cats and the number of cat impoundments. The grant money will help improve conditions even more, and changes in the program should decrease the wait time to get the service. Due to a fear of people, community cats are ineligible for adoption if brought to a shelter.
Appointments for all other clinic services, such as non-TNR spay and neuter, vaccinations, and microchips, can now be made online. To access the Animal Care Clinic's online booking engine, click here.
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