By Debra Moore
Progress is being made on the dire feral cat situation facing Plumas County. Though it wasn’t on the agenda, County Administrative Officer Debra Lucero discussed the steps the county has taken thus far in response to public comment made by Rose Buzzetta, director of Friends of Plumas County Animals.
During the July 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, Buzzetta described her efforts and those of other volunteers to address the problem. The goal is to spay and neuter as many feral cats as possible — a task that requires trapping the animals, spaying and neutering them, and holding them for a few days before they can be released. Besides funding, the biggest hurdle is a lack of local veterinarians to perform the procedures.
However, former veterinarians are stepping forward and Buzzetta said she is organizing a Spay-a-Thon utilizing local vets’ spaces during their off hours. She said organizers are still looking for funding to help purchase traps and provide vaccinations. She concluded her remarks by saying she planned to meet with CAO Lucero on July 19 to develop the program.
While the board typically doesn’t respond during public comment, CAO Lucero said she wanted to provide an update to the board so they would know that the county is working on this issue and she provided a detailed account of those activities. She said she met with Alex Saez, the animal control supervisor, whose responsibilities extend beyond feral cats. “On this particular day, Alex was trying to deal with two pot belly pigs in Portola,” Lucero said.
Lucero said that the county received a $180,000 grant for spay/neuters and there were 135 vouchers for the program left. “Bad news is that the feral cats are increasing,” Lucero said…Lack of vets is the biggest problem.”
It’s estimated that there are 200 feral cats in the Greenville area alone that are being fed at feeding stations. These cats, if they aren’t spayed or neutered, will continue to breed and the problem will continue to grow. Lucero said that former Quincy area veterinarian Frank Merrill would be willing to spay and neuter 50 cats a day – but he needs a spot to perform the procedures.
Supervisor Kevin Goss said such detailed information should be put on the board’s agenda. Because Lucero and Buzzetta are scheduled to meet July 19, the item will be placed on the agenda for the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting after that, which would be Aug. 1.