The Ely City Council approved Ordinance 721 at last week’s meeting that allows the city to incorporate a trap, neuter release program.

It’s a program that has been utilized all across the United States to help with the overwhelming cat population. Ely will now be able to curb the feline issues here in White Pine County. The Ely Animal Control Shelter holds an agreement with White Pine County, making this program available to the outlining areas in White Pine.

In the past, all around the United States and not just Ely, cats would be trapped, and euthanized if they were not adoptable. This method created a vaccum effect in the environment, where new cats would move in to take advantage of available resources.

The new cats would breed and the cat population grow, once again. The previous method, was not only ineffective but cruel, and this is a more humane approach.

What is the process? A community cat, a free-roaming cat who may be cared for by one or more residents of the immediate area, who is known or unknown, and may or may not be considered feral, is humanely trapped, transported to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear tipped.  

Ear tipping is the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated. Ear tipping is the removal of the distal one-quarter of a community cat’s left ear, approximately 3/8 of an inch of 1 cm in an adult cat, and a proportionally smaller amount in a kitten. This is performed under sterile condition while the cat is under anesthesia.

Once the cat has recovered they are returned to their outdoor home.

Then a community cat caregiver will step in to assist in providing care, including food, shelter or medical care to a community cat, while not being considered the owner, harborer, controller or keeper of a community cat.

The program will be available as long as grant funding is available. The current TNR program has been funded by a grant through Maddies Pet Project. This type of program has been proven to improve the lives of cats, address community concerns, reduce complaints about cats, and stop the breeding problem.

Animal Control officer Andrew Hayes has worked on launching the TNR program.  From training with other agencies who have facilitated the TNR program, to receiving the traps to capture the cats in, Hayes has been working on this project for several months.   

“TNR is a community based program that is made succesfull through the efforts of members in the community,”he said. “Assistance and training is provided by animal control for anyone who would like to become a volunteer for this program.”

TNR is about more than saving today’s cats. It is the future of animal control. This process reduces the shelter population.

Hayes also explained that volunteers are needed. The Ely Animal Shelter is currently seeking volunteers who can help with this project in addition to helping with other duties at the animal control shelter. If interested contact Hayes at 775-296-0567.