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Some of the kittens that have been rescued and being cared for by Friends of Plumas County Animals. Photo courtesy of Friends

Volunteers seek help in dealing with Plumas County’s feral cats

By Debra Moore

[email protected]


Plumas County has a problem — feral, propagating cats — that local resources are struggling to handle.

Rose Buzzetta, founder of Friends of Plumas County Animals, appeared before the Board of Supervisors on May 9 to plead for assistance. “This year we have a huge amount of feral cats that are breeding,” Buzzetta told the supervisors. “I get calls every day.”

While the problem exists throughout the county, she said Greenville is a hot spot because of the Dixie Fire. In the wake of the fire, many cats were left homeless and while individuals have stepped up to feed them, they are not being spayed and neutered. She shared that one woman called her in tears because she lives between two feeding stations and sees the animals traipse across her yard and can’t help all of them.

Then Buzzetta described a hoarder house on Manazanita Way in East Quincy where 80 cats have been discovered. Her organization, along with PAWS (the other cat rescue in Quincy), have taken in about 40 of the cats, many in need of veterinarian care. She said there are many more breeding pairs remaining at the home and she can’t get any assistance.

“I tell people to call animal control,” she said, but in most cases they already have. Buzzetta said that animal control doesn’t have the staff nor the funding to deal with the problem either. She said that instead they tell people that they could be cited for feeding the animals, or the state could be brought in for assistance, but according to both Buzzetta and animal control, the cats would be euthanized and then taken away.

Buzzetta said her organization practices TNR (trap/neuter/release) using 10 traps. They have set them up in many places including at a ranch in Greenville, at Plumas Pines in Graeagle and even at the county jail. By comparison, she said that animal control has three traps.

“We have been used as animal control in the county,” she told the supervisors. “You rely on the rescues to take the animals to feed them and care for them. But now the numbers are out of control… the situation is unsustainable.” She described the financial and emotional toll it’s taking.

“I’m down there sometimes at 3 a.m. in the morning,” feeding and caring for the animals. And she’s not the only one. She said volunteers at her organization and at PAWS are dealing with the same issues.  Many cats and kittens taken from the hoarder’s home have serious health issues, but they are too underweight to be taken to a vet for treatment yet. “These cats are so sick,” she said. As it is, there aren’t enough vets in Plumas County to deal with all of the cats and volunteers regularly transport cats to Reno to be spayed, neutered and treated.

Buzzetta proposed some solutions, including using county grant funds to practice TNR that she helped obtain. She also noted that UC Davis has a mobile unit used during disasters to assist with the animals, as they did with the Dixie Fire. She suggested that the county try to bring them back to the area, as she has been unsuccessful in that attempt.

She also addressed code enforcement. “We don’t have authority to cite,” she said … “This hoarder needs to make sure she never has animals again. It needs to be enforced. I don’t have the power to do it.”

Buzzetta added, “This problem grows every single day and it’s heartbreaking to see these animals suffer.”

Supervisor Greg Hagwood asked if Environmental Health could take action with regard to the Manzanita house. An audience member agreed, saying that the situation is “impacting the entire neighborhood, including Caltrans.”

“We have environmental health here, the sheriff here and the DA here. Is there something that can collectively be done?” Hagwood asked, adding that the effort could include behavioral health and code enforcement.

Sheriff Todd Johns said that this was the first he had heard of the Manzanita situation. “I can look into it,” he said. “I will say that I have worked with Rose fairly closely over the past year,” and he addressed the $180,000 grant she brought forward to help with the situation. He also said that she was correct with regard to the state assistance. “They will kill the cats and haul them off,” he said.

There was some discussion about the food piles in Greenville that are attractive not only to the feral cats, but to skunks, raccoons and bears.

An audience member said, “TNR is the answer. Not feeding them isn’t the answer.” She said that she has been trapping cats and taking them to Truckee to be spayed and neutered at her own cost. “I am doing the work; I am not getting paid.”

Buzzetta stressed numerous times during her presentation that she wants to be part of the solution; she wants to help, but volunteer organizations can’t do it alone. They need help from the county.

It was decided that county staff would get together to discuss the issue.

Friends of Plumas County Animals is a nonprofit organization located at 1093 Lee Road in Quincy. Call 530-927-9485 for more information.

PAWS, the Plumas Animal Welfare Society, is also a nonprofit organization located at 2453 E. Main St. in Quincy. Call 530-283-5433 for more information.

6 thoughts on “Volunteers seek help in dealing with Plumas County’s feral cats

  • To the kind Plumas County citizens: Money can’t totally solve the underlying problem, but it can be of great help to these two volunteer organizations that right now are struggling with the huge influx of cats seized from the hoarding situation, as well as dealing with the usual spring influx of kittens as cats begin breeding when the weather warms. Please donate to one or both of these fine organizations if you are able. PAWS mailing address is P.O. Box 125 Quincy, and Friends of Plumas Animals’ is P.O. Box 182. If you can’t donate but can find it in your heart to volunteer, I’m sure that would be a big help also. Better yet, if you’re able do both!! Thank you from the volunteers and the kitties!!

  • Bob Barker told us to spay and neuter our pets…. yet here we are.

  • Why don’t we stop digging the same roads over and over boy waste of money and use the money on curing cancer and neutering animals and why not make a law that all animals have to be nuetered and enforce it or would that make touch sense?

  • Would help if PAWS helped protect dogs as well as cats. I have a rescue from the Dixie fires, who I felt obligated to take in. I am elderly and low income, and am barely managing with food and Vet bills. I am disgusted with so many people around me who have cats and let them roam around outside without shots or registration. Why is that legal when my little dog on a leash in my yard can get attacked by one of them, yet I cannot afford Vet bills?

  • Cats are not as well regulated as dogs are. Cats eat an enormous amount of wild birds. I am a member of the Audubon Society, and I am not in favor of feeding animals that have no home, kill birds, roam around looking sick, and breed, breed, breed. Don’t get me wrong. I own two cats, one I took in as it was thrown out of its home. Cats can breed in numbers way beyond our ability to care for them. Letting them live at the expense of my precious birds is just not my idea of humane treatment….we humans have enabled the cats and our other pets to be. If we cannot care for them, they just can’t continue living in colonies needing food, vet care, fighting each other, etc. They are not loving pets in this case; they are a drain on society.

  • Interesting that this article came up this week, as I have had numerous concerns and comments about the feral cats that are everywhere at American Valley Estates. These cats walk right into homes, if the doors are open, and are a public nuisance. They (if not properly cared for) carry disease that can will be spread to humans. You can watch them all day long come in and out from underneath the apartment/cabins and those cabins reek of cat spray. There is a huge need to get rid of the feral cats for public safety!

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