LOGAN — The Cache Humane Society (CHS) is pleased to announce a recent partnership with the Logan City Police Department to help manage community cat populations within Logan City. The one-year pilot program began May 1, 2017 and will be reevaluated May 1, 2018. Stacey Frisk, executive director of the CHS, said the agency is excited about the partnership. She describes the program as a trap-neuter-release effort designed to benefit thousands of free-roaming animals within Logan City limits.
“We entered into an agreement about a month ago where animal control officers will be picking up free-roaming cats, and if a cat has no visible signs of ownership—meaning no collar, no microchip—the cat will be evaluated for participation in this new program,” she explained. “If we determine that it is an unowned cat, the cat will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped and then released back to the location where he was trapped.”
Free-roaming or community cats are often referred to as feral cats. While Frisk said estimating a precise number of how many feral cats live in Logan City is difficult, she said a generally accepted range is two to ten cats per person.
“These are cats that live amongst us but don’t have an owner,” said Frisk. “They’re cats that are unlikely to have a family out there waiting for them to come home. They’re self-sustaining for the most part, and we are just here to get them sterilized and released.”
Frisk said knowledge of the new program is important to share with the community because pet owners need to understand the importance of establishing visible signs of ownership among indoor/outdoor or predominately outdoor cats. These signs might include a collar or a microchip, and Frisk said they are “crucial with animal control out there actively trapping free-roaming cats.”
“Animal control’s response is still primarily complaint-based,” she said, “so they’re responding to people calling and saying that they have cats that are in their garden or in their garage or wandering around the neighborhood, and what we’re hoping through this trap-neuter-release program is also to see some of the nuisance behaviors that cause people to call animal control to decline. These are behaviors like howling and fighting and spraying and are diminished when you’ve got a largely sterilized cat population.”
Frisk said the trap-neuter-release program helps cats in several ways. First, given the territorial nature of cats, it helps establish populations of sterilized, vaccinated, healthy cats in their respective territories.
“If you simply remove those cats, either euthanizing them or attempting to relocate them somewhere else, you’re creating what we’re calling a vacuum effect,” she said, “and that allows that territory to be filled in by cats that are unlikely to be sterilized or vaccinated. In that case, we see fighting. We see the spread of disease. We see unhealthy populations of cats, so this is really a way to make Logan City’s community cats healthier.”
Frisk said the program benefits taxpayers as well.
“Currently, when we hold a cat, we are billing the City of Logan for every day that that cat is in our impound,” she explained. “They contract with us to provide food and care and treatment for that cat, and it is actually less expensive for us to neuter, vaccinate and ear-tip that cat. It costs the Logan taxpayer less.”
If a community cat that has been trapped and released in Logan City continues to be a nuisance and receives two or more complaints, animal control can return the animal to CHS for placement in its barn cat program, where free-roaming cats are provided free of charge to farmers and property animals to help with rodent control. Outside of Logan City limits, the shelter offers county residents the opportunity to participate in a subsidized trap-neuter-release program that allows them to independently check out traps and transport feral cats to and from the shelter for heavily discounted spay/neuter services, vaccinations and ear-tipping.
Frisk said she hopes CHS’ pilot program with Logan City will be successful, serving as a model for other Cache Valley communities. She said the Logan City and North Park police departments are currently the only local law enforcement agencies to include cats within their animal control policies and procedures.
“We are hoping to see it extended into a longer term agreement or potentially an ordinance,” she said of the trap-neuter-release program, “and we’d love to see other jurisdictions in the county start to participate.”
More information about the Cache Humane Society and its programming is available at cachehumane.org.