MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – A chronic problem with feral cats in town is about to be dealt with by a new company using a method called TNR, which stands for “trap, neuter, return.”

The Borough Council came to consensus this week to hire a firm called Animal Control Solutions of Flemington to handle the wild felines prowling some areas of the municipality, plus provide regular animal control and animal welfare services for the town.

The company will perform TNR “the way we would like it done,” Borough Administrator James Debbie said on Feb. 2 during the Borough Council work session.

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TNR is described on the Humane Society's website as a nonlethal strategy for reducing the number of community cats (feral and stray) and improving the quality of life for cats, wildlife, and people.

At its most basic, TNR involves humanely trapping community cats; spaying or neutering them; vaccinating them against rabies; surgically removing the tip of one ear (a "tipped" ear is the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been spayed or neutered); and returning the cats to their home (place they were trapped).

Debbie said the new company, Animal Control Solutions, will cost less than the firm the town had used for the same services. The new company, however, charges extra to pick up dead skunks, he said.

The the contract with Animal Control Solutions will be for two years, but the Borough “can opt out,” Debbie said.

There were no dead skunks reported in town during 2015. Deer carcass removal is performed by a state agency.

$300 Contribution to Project Graduation

The Borough Council also came to consensus to make a monetary contribution to Governor Livingston High School's Project Graduation.

“It's $300. We do it every year,” Mayor Paul Mirabelli said. “I'm assuming that no one has any problem with that.”

Project Graduation is the all-night, alcohol and drug-free celebration for the graduating seniors following their graduation in June.

A tradition at Governor Livingston since 1989, Project Graduation receives no funding from the school budget, according to information published on the Governor Livingston High School website. Monies to support this (roughly) $25,000 yearly event are raised through fundraisers, grants, business, professional, and parent donations and participant contributions. The Project Graduation Committee, which organizes the event, is a branch of the Governor Livingston PTO.