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From Where We Stand: Plumas County must help with TNR program for cats

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,

Rose Buzzetta
Director of Friends of PC Animals

7 thoughts on “From Where We Stand: Plumas County must help with TNR program for cats

  • I lived by the Lindo Channel in Chico and had a TNR cat that lived many years there. It’s a great idea and definitely will make a difference in the long run. The county will save money after a few years as long as owners act responsibly as well. Thank you for your dedication!

  • There should also be thought and action given to vaccinating these feral animals before release. The spread of disease should be considered part of the program

  • Plumas County is struggling to provide services for its human population.
    TNR is a great program idea, but the county doesn’t have the staff to get the grants or run the program.

  • Why not stop digging the roads up where I live They have been digging roads for22years that money that the city and state gives to there relatives could be given to something useful like tnr for cats.

  • Many kudos to Rose and others who have and continue to work on behalf of the helpless unhoused cats of Plumas County. We started feeding a female feral kitty two years ago. She had one litter of kittens and when she had her second litter at the beginning of what turned out to be a very harsh winter, we trapped Mama and her four kittens and brought them into our house. We fed and cared for them all during the winter and, when they were six months old, had all five of them spayed and neutered and got their shots at our own expense. We have continued to house them all and are now having difficulty finding homes for them and we are in the process of selling our house and moving out of the area. This is a continuing problem that we must all address for so many reasons, most of all for the humane treatment of these helpless animals. Thank you all for bringing this issue to the forefront. These poor kitties deserve better treatment than most are providing.

  • Feral Cats Kill Wildlife. Statement from the American Bird Conservancy: Why TNR Programs Fail

    TNR programs fail because they do not operate in an enclosed system and cannot spay or neuter a sufficient number of cats to affect feral cat numbers at the population level. Despite the good intentions of many involved in TNR programs, TNR has been found to be a waste of time, money, and resources.

    For example, one evaluation of two long-term TNR programs in California and Florida indicated that “any population-level effects were minimal.” The team of researchers concluded that “no plausible combination of [conditions] would likely allow for TNR to succeed in reducing population size.”

    Once feral cats are spayed or neutered, they are then abandoned back into the environment to continue a feral existence. Not only is this systematic abandonment inhumane to the cats, it perpetuates numerous problems such as wildlife predation, transmission of disease, and property destruction.

  • While involvement a TNR program very likely gives one a feeling of contributing to the welfare of all, in all likelihood it contributes to individual warm & fuzzies (NPI) of the individuals involved. My feral cat of 18 years just passed away. I spent my money to capture, “fix,” provide medical attention and a home for my cat.
    An additional “social service” is not what is needed to address the feral cat issue. If you truly believe that the cats present a problem, continue to lobby individuals to support your cause. However, releasing the animals to resume their predatory life is counterproductive; wildlife will continue to be killed, property defaced, quality of life diminished, etc. If you catch ‘em, you keep ‘em, and you should not expect compensation from the depleted coffers of this, or any other county or county agency.
    You and I both know that there is a solution. But of course…

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