BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- 125 feral cats have been humanely neutered in 2017 by the Bloomfield Animal Shelter, which is operating with more resources and a renewed mission to Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release (TNVR) based on the international Trap-Neuter-Return program popularized worldwide in the 1960s.
TNR, and TNVR involve humanely trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, vaccinating them against rabies and other common illnesses, and returning them to their outdoor “home” if they cannot be adopted. This is the least costly and most efficient way to reduce feral cat populations and is endorsed by numerous well-respected animal welfare organizations including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the National Animal Control Association.
Since last summer, operations of the Bloomfield Animal Shelter have fallen under the purview of the Bloomfield Police Department. Funding for TNVR and other shelter operations comes from Bloomfield Township, and Supporters of Bloomfield Animal Shelter (SOBAS), as well as state grants and donations from People for Animals, Inc. (PFA), an independent New Jersey based nonprofit animal welfare organization founded in 1980. PFA was chosen by the State of New Jersey to participate in a pilot program to reduce animal overpopulation, and in 1985, opened the first Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic of its kind in the state. The Bloomfield Animal Shelter signed a $10,000 contract with the PFA for training services and assistance trapping and releasing these feral cats. The contract does not include the cost of neutering and spaying, which are performed by local veterinarians.
“Feral cats, unlike stray abandoned cats, tend to have never been socialized to people, and more often carry diseases, making the vaccination efforts crucial to preventing the spread of diseases to outdoor pet cats, dogs, and even people. Stray cats can also become feral over time as their connection to humans diminishes, which makes finding good homes for these vaccinated cats a top priority of the Bloomfield Animal Shelter,” said Mayor Michael Venezia.“On behalf of the Township Council I would like to thank the Bloomfield Animal Shelter Advisory Committee and the residents who serve on the Committee for their outstanding commitment to ensuring our Animal Shelter is the best in North Jersey and Bloomfield’s animal population is never overlooked or trivialized. We are also fortunate to have great partnerships with the PFA, SOBAS, and the State of New Jersey, and will continue to identify strong partners in this important cause.”
“Resident complaints led to the Police Department performing extensive research on how to deal with feral cats, and we decided on this new program. We have identified 29 cat colonies in the Township of Bloomfield. Thanks to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter’s emphasis on vaccinating feral cats, and the hard work of its volunteers and veterinaries, 43 cats were adopted by local families after treatment,” said Director of Public Safety Samuel DeMaio. “The Bloomfield feral cat problem is one we cannot ignore, and will continue to dedicate all available resources to reversing.”
“I am so proud of our volunteers, who work tirelessly to help the animal shelter by walking dogs, performing administrative functions, and providing animal food. They have done amazing work with our TNVR initiative, in keeping with our mission to take care of stray animals and match them up with good owners,” said Councilman Ted Gamble, liaison to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter. Gamble has owned four cats and three dogs over the course of his life. “We still have a long way to go in vaccinating more feral cats, and caring for the animals in our shelter. I encourage anyone who is looking to make a difference in the community, and specifically in the lives of animals in need, to become a volunteer.”
The Bloomfield Animal Shelter is located at 61 Bukowski Place in Bloomfield, and can be reached at (973) 748-0194. To report a stray or injured animal, call the Bloomfield Police Station at (973) 680-4141. To report cat colony locations, call Valerie Wilson of the PFA at (973) 282-0890, extension 222. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to donate to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter, please visit http://www.bloomfieldshelter.com/.