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Board discusses feral cat problem

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

She came in seeking two Plumas County supervisors to serve on a committee and left with the assurance that county staff would be in touch.

She is Rose Buzzetta, the director of Friends of Plumas County Animals, and she wants help with county’s feral cat problem. She appeared before the board June 13 and shared a letter outlining a plan to deal with the exploding cat population. “My mine main purpose today is to have two board members come together to start putting a plan in motion,” she said. Buzzetta appeared before the board previously on May 9 and shared the overwhelming situation local animal rescues were facing to cope with the feral cat population.

She said that there are many TNR (trap, neuter, return) programs that save counties money. “The whole premise is that if these animals aren’t breeding, the colony will die off,” she said, and then the county won’t be left dealing with huge populations of cats.  She said that a spay/neuter program exists for domestic cats and she would like one for the feral cats. She suggested that the county apply for grants to cover the costs. (The county has 245 spay/neuter coupons available for pet owners.)

District 3 Supervisor Tom McGowan asked about the county grant writer’s workload. “You are well aware of all the other priorities,” he said to Buzzetta.

County Administrative Officer Debra Lucero said the county is working on 15 grants involving the planning department and fire recovery.

“A lot of this problem has come as a result of the Dixie Fire,” Buzzetta responded. “A lot of the calls I get are from Greenville.”

McGowan said that was a good point and could qualify the county for more grant funding.

Lucero said that she would like to meet with Animal Control staff and get their numbers as well as those of the nonprofits, and that she would be the point of contact for the county.

Supervisor Greg Hagwood, who was chairing the meeting, said “I applaud the work that you and your staff have been doing, particularly since the Dixie Fire. We do have a responsibility to partner with you, and staff will be communicating with you. You are what I would consider a subject matter expert and we admittedly are not.”

Sheriff Todd Johns, who was in the audience, responded to some of Buzzetta’s comments about Animal Control, which is under his purview.  He said he took exception to her statement that Animal Control had a “horrible reputation” in the county. “We have positive contacts and negative, but I don’t believe our reputation is horrible,” he said.

Additionally, Johns said he read her presentation, some of which pertained to mandating behavioral health services for individuals that don’t properly care for their cats. He said that better ordinances would give Animal Control a greater ability to deal with the situation.

Johns acknowledged that they have been very short staffed and “recognize that we need more help.” He said that Animal Control doesn’t have time to look for grants even though they would like to.

But he said his office did reach out to UC Davis (an entity that helped with animals during the Dixie Fire) but they are not willing to do TNR. “We were lucky to get them for the fire,” he said. Johns added that he liked some of Buzzetta’s ideas.

Moving forward, Buzzetta and the other volunteers will be working with Lucero’s office.

5 thoughts on “Board discusses feral cat problem

  • Please help !!! I’ve already rescued four, plus caring for two kittens !!! I cannot take on anymore, there needs to be help in spay/neutering , plus the poor things out in freezing winter months

  • Cats are a destructive alien animal, an invasive species, one of our worst. Here in Sacramento after 18 years of TNR our population of unowned cats may have tripled. Money for one of our leading agencies to neuter cats has run out and our shelters and neighborhoods are overflowing with unowned cats. I’ve lived next to a TNR feeding site 2X and my elderly parents lived next to a huge feeding site, about 100 cats. Typically those site don’t go away. They are horrible to live around. In every case we were overrun by rats due to all the cat food left out. Our well fed cats kill off vulnerable native animal but are ineffective in controlling smart and tough rats. Typically only 4% or 10% of the unowned cats fed under TNR regulations are neutered. New cats attracted to the food can’t be or aren’t trapped fast enough. TNR doctrine is to always have cats to feed so more cats don’t show up. That’s faults because with limitless food, limitless population and cats readily join. Statistically all our kittens come from unowned cats feral cat hobbyists feed. There are many true scientific studies showing this such as from the American Bird Conservancy, Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, Western Governs Association. Our city TNR programs are based on pet food conglomerate and corporate TNR charities funded studies written by journalist. https://www.urbanwildlifecast.com/science-vs-the-cat-hoarders/ https://www.earth.com/news/cats-ineffective-rat-numbers/

    • There’s a town in Germany that banned outdoor cats because of them killing off a rare bird. First, many bad pet owners, second, this Country refuses to ban breeding cause people think it’s acceptable to treat a living being as a product. TNR is not going to work if people are not responsible pet owners & not held accountable. We need to ban them being outside, ban selling & breeding, then TNR will work for the rest. But good luck getting selfish people to agree to this.

    • Thanks for the thorough comment Mark. I hope people realize that feral cats are extremely destructive to our wildlife. I admire folks trying to Trap & Neuter & Adopt the cats, but I will never support cat Release to wreck havoc on our songbirds and other wildlife.

  • I live in a mobile home park in E Quincy, our female cats have been fixed but in our park on one of the dead end roads there are least 9 to 10 feral cats, they come and poop in our yards , we are unable to catch them . If we could catch them there is no place to take them as Paws and pound are over run with cats. This is just 1 part of our park-there are more at other end. This means since none have been spayed or neutered, then there will be plenty more soon. I and many in park are tired of the cat poop smell and stepping in it in our yards. It is not just the park, people on streets around us are complaining too, something needs to be done, this is just going to get worse.
    Thanks for your time

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