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      Cat committee meets to solve feral cat problem

      For many people feral cats have become a problem so much so that the city has created a special citizens committee to tackle the problem. On Wednesday that committee presented a proposal to tackle the issue.

      Albany has seen exponential growth in feral cats and if nothing is done experts say it will only get worse.

      With time the feral population is going to increase. The problem is that animal control is not prepared to trap the great number of the cats. They are overwhelmed. And if they did the human society wouldn't have any place to put them without killing cats a whole lot sooner, said Dr. Lynn Kennedy of the Committee.

      Dr. Kennedy says she and her group, the Citizens Advisory Committee for Animal Services, have a plan to control that growing population.

      If we can use the strategy of trap neuter and return, over time the population will decrease, said Kennedy.

      To put it in perspective there about 40,000 cats in the city of Albany. Nearly half of those, about 18,000, are feral and stray cats.

      At the center of the plan is a mandate for pet owners tag and chip their cats so that don't end up in the Humane Society. As for the feral animals they're asking for a cooperation with animal control to help round them up.

      If an animal is picked up without ID then we would like it taken to a cooperating veterinarian who would spay and neuter and then clip the left ear, said Dr. Kennedy.

      It's a plan that sounds expensive but Kennedy says it's all about the reallocating the city's funds.

      If cats that would normally go to the Humane Society don't. Then the money that is set aside for that can be shunted into spay and neuter, said Dr. Kennedy.

      Now it TMs up to the advisory committee to make the next move.

      Our committees purpose is to evaluate and look at what's being proposed and see if that is reasonable for the majority of the citizens and addresses the issue, said Mary Ligon of the Advisory Committee.