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High Demand for "Feral Fix" Clinics

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Dee Doherty-Strelecki and Donna Hildreth didn’t even have time to send out media releases. The “Feral Fix” event registered 50 cats for spaying/neutering within days with one Facebook post.

“We’re thrilled but not surprised,” said Ms. Doherty-Strelecki, president and founder of Harnesslife.org, which is co-sponsoring the filled-up Oct. 13 free clinic in Robbinsville with Ms. Hildreth’s North Brunswick Humane Association and People for Animals.

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“The need is so great in the Central Jersey region,” noted Ms. Hildreth, who runs NBHA’s community cat program. “We could hold a low-cost spay/neuter clinic every month and have 30 to 50 cats and kittens registered. Some of these are ‘friendlies’—socialized neighborhood cats or family pets—but most are feral, unsocialized cats that live on the street or in rural colonies.”

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) efforts, supported by clinics such as the Feral Fixes, make a real difference, Ms. Hildreth said, not only for feral cats but also for the communities in which they roam.

“TNR keeps cats healthier, reduces nuisance complaints eases public health concerns and may reduce local animal control costs,” she said. Her organization’s community cat program, established in the fall of 2013, has already subsidized the spaying/neutering of 700 cats, an average of 250 per year based on current funding. 

“Had those cats been picked up by animal control, they would be dead,” she noted.

In fact, according to Alley Cat Allies, 70% of cats that enter shelters nationwide do not leave alive; the percentage for feral cats: 100%.

Ms. Hildreth and Ms. Doherty-Strelecki are both encouraged by the growing grassroots movement in Garden State towns to promote and support TNR. Approximately 150 New Jersey communities have recognized the need for TNR programs, including Middlesex Borough, Point Pleasant and Kearney. Collaborative events such as the Oct. 13 clinic—in honor of National Feral Cat Day—do more than spay/neuter feral cats, Ms. Doherty-Strelecki said.

“These cats will also receive free rabies and distemper vaccines, an ear tip, tummy tattoo, injectable antibiotics and pain control,” she pointed out.

For further information, please contact Dee Doherty-Strelecki at dee@harnesslife.com or at (908) 969-1809.

 

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