Editor’s Note: Rose Buzzetta , director of Friends of Plumas County Animals, appeared before the Board of Supervisors on June 13 to plea for help with the county’s feral cat problem. Following is the letter that she shared with the board:
This letter and Board visit are follow-ups to our agenda item and discussion which was begun at the Board meeting on May 9.
A group of rescuers and nonprofit directors met on May 18 and discussed the issues of the impact of unaltered feral animals on the rescues, the citizens and the communities. We will now refer to those cats who are unhomed, unclaimed, stray or truly feral as Community Cats. These are cats that are being cared for, fed and watched over by community members.
Suggestions to Plumas County supervisors to ease the suffering of animals in the county and for establishment of a TNR (trap, neuter, return) program for the county from rescuers Kathy Chambers, Barbara Montandon, Louise Delaney (PAWS), Heidi Hart and Rose Buzzetta (Friends of PC Animals) include, but are not exclusive to:
- Safe surrender at the county animal shelter — eliminate the $25 fee to surrender an animal.
- The County to immediately contact UC Davis and get a mobile vet out to do TNR work as an extension of the Dixie Fire catastrophe and part of Dixie Relief.
- Find mobile veterinarians from out of the area — Susanville, Reno, Chico — to come and do surgeries in PC. Negotiate with veterinarians for use/rent of their space on off days.Get a grant for TNR work. The County has a grant writer on payroll already.
- Pass ordinances to prevent abusers from ever owning animals again.
- Make mental health care mandatory and available for abusers and be sure follow-ups are scheduled.
- Use money from Code Sec. 6-1.214 and get creative with Code 6-1.215 monies.
- Create and participate in a Round Table of animal rescues and rescuers, and those from the County who are able to initiate change in Codes and enforcement.
- Better fund and better staff the County Animal Shelter. Use volunteers, inmates, those needing community service hours or those on probation to serve as workers in the Animal Control building. Hire more staff and keep them accountable for the work they are supposed to do and the help they are supposed to give the citizens of Plumas County. Buy more humane traps and prepare for TNR trapping.
- Use options such as the Nevada Humane Society or Truckee Humane for larger numbers of TNR surgeries. Think beyond using only Plumas County veterinarians for the work. Plumas vets are overworked and most don’t want to do community cats.
- Seek places to relocate community cats — work with the rescues for advice and help. Seek outside help for advice on a TNR program. Casey Hersch or Joy Smith from Fieldhaven Rescue in Lincoln are great resources for information. Barbara Montandon is also active with Red Rover from Sacramento and North Valley Animal Disaster Group.
- The County has to take responsibility for animal welfare and not leave the financial burden and huge workload for the rescue organizations. It has been unfair for years and is now totally unacceptable.
We recognize TNR work is time consuming and costly, as the rescuers and nonprofits have been solely shouldering this burden for years. We also know that removal and euthanasia of these cats does NOT solve the problem. Other cats move into the empty spaces and the problem continues. Only by doing TNR work — by keeping the Community Cats in place and doing continuous spay/neuter surgeries to keep the populations from expanding — does the problem resolve itself.
We feel the County is ready to take steps to level out this inequality to the rescues and the animals and we are all willing to advise and help ease the process. Our goal is to obtain a County-funded TNR program for community cats in Plumas County.
We look forward to hearing your individual responses and what your interest and participation in developing a working TNR program in Plumas County might look like. We need to work together to address this major issue.
For the good of the animals,
Director of Friends of PC Animals