(La Junta, CO) -- Volunteering to herd cats is a hard job yet Patty Schaff is doing it to keep the downtown colonies in La Junta healthy.
She spoke at Monday night's La Junta City Council meeting to tell the room that they've been able to make a difference with the TNR program, or Trap, Neuter, Release (sometimes referred to as Trap, Neuter and Return).
Once the sometimes feral cats are caught, they're taken to be spayed or neutered, given shots and any other care they might need. This prevents the population from exploding, explained Schaff. She updated the council that of the kittens they were able to catch she believes the socializing they are now doing will make them great pets for a new home.
Schaff explained to the council, who recently passed an ordinance against feeding cats in public areas, such as downtown, that feeding is necessary.
"Since the no feeding ordinance has passed I cannot actively trap where I have for the last eight to ten years, since I don't feed in the same spot the cats are not there waiting to eat, so setting traps there is pointless. This is where feeding in one spot is highly beneficial, even in downtown. If Jeffri had not been feeding downtown before we started there's no way I would have had the luck I had."
She said cats remember one spot where they got food and return. Schaff mentioned there's an opportunity for the community to host a four day spay-neuter clinic with the traveling vet clinic. They would offer a reduced price for two days for the community to benefit from the services and spend two days performing the procedures on trapped cats. It takes a certain amount of money to bring the clinic to town however. Schaff mentioned it would be about $10,000 to cover the costs for the medicines, the surgical staff and other expenses. They would also need a place with electricity, and water to do the procedures.
City council discussed whether or not they could be able to help with the costs of the clinics.
Schaff had some ideas to fund the ongoing care for the colonies of cats in the community. She mentioned that maybe a care giver's fee to those who wish to feed and care could be assigned and that money could go back into a fund to continue the overall care. And another idea would be including a flyer in with the city's utility bill that asks for donations.
Send a check to Doris Gumke/La Junta Animal Rescue/1312 Adams/La Junta or call if you'd like to drop donations, 719-468-1346.
~Anne Boswell, email@example.com