|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 17, 2010|
Contact: Caroline Resnick,
Feral Cat Program Director
941-957-1955 ext. 5
ANOTHER BANNER YEAR FOR SARASOTA'S FORGOTTEN FELINES
SARASOTA -- Buddy's Feral Cat Program, a key effort by the Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC), prevented more than 8,000 kittens from being born to an uncertain future, the nonprofit group announced Friday.
That's about how many kittens would have been born to the feral and free-roaming cats who were spayed and neutered this past year as part of Buddy's program, which promotes and implements Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in southwest Florida.
TNR involves caretakers ensuring that colonies of free-roaming and feral cats are sterilized, returned to their original location, fed and watered, and monitored for medical needs. The caretakers also ensure that any new cats who join the colony are sterilized.
"This is a life-saving program that has a positive impact on our community," said Caroline Resnick, director of Buddy's Feral Cat Program. "We are making a significant contribution to the cause of preventing animal overpopulation."
Throughout 2010, Buddy's Feral Cat Program spayed and neutered 1,274 feral and free-roaming cats throughout Sarasota and surrounding counties. Over half of those sterilized were breeding females, who if left unaltered would have produced an average of three litters over a 12 month period, according to animal experts, for an estimated total of over 8,000 homeless kittens.
Buddy's Feral Cat Program is hosted by Ashton Animal Clinic and handles up to 150 cats a month. Scores of volunteers and a dedicated crew of veterinarians donate their services one Sunday a month to spay and neuter the cats, who are brought to the clinic by dedicated community trappers and concerned members of the public.
The cats receive, in addition to sterilization surgeries, distemper and rabies vaccinations; treatment for internal and external parasites; ear cleanings and ear mite medication; and any other necessary medical treatment. All cats also receive an ear tip, which is a universally recognized mark of a sterilized and rabies-vaccinated feral and free-roaming cat.
Overseeing the monthly clinic are Resnick and Dr. Laurie Walmsley, ARC's medical director. The two also coordinate efforts throughout the rest of each month to care for sick or injured stray and feral cats and provide additional sterilization surgeries when possible.
Plans for 2011 include a microchipping program and targeted TNR in strategic locations. A plan is also underway to work with Sarasota County's trailer park communities, many of which are overrun with unaltered feral and free-roaming cats. Overall, more than 7,800 cats have been sterilized through Buddy's Feral Cat Program since its founding in 2002.
"Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to feral cats, you can't dispute that this program works," Resnick said. "Scientific evidence supports TNR as both a humane and effective way to reduce cat overpopulation. It's a win-win situation."
For more information on Buddy's Feral Cat Program, contact Resnick at 941-957-1955, ext. 5, or click here.
The Animal Rescue Coalition is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to end the killing of adoptable dogs and cats in Sarasota and Manatee Counties by means of a proactive spay/neuter program, comprehensive adoption program, and various other initiatives designed to recognize the profound benefits to people of animal companionship.