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Some suggesting different solution for Wausau's feral cat problem

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wausau’s problem with feral cats hasn’t gone away, and there’s discussion about trying something different. It’s called Trap, Neuter, and Relocate and would allow volunteers to catch ferals and strays so they could be sterilized and given some basic treatment before being turned loose in a different area of the county.

Marathon County Humane Society Shelter Manager Mary Kirlin says what they’re forced to do now doesn’t solve the problem.  “I’m hoping that we’re able to do more than what we’ve done in the past, which is virtually trap and kill animals, which is making people want to keep animals away from us, not wanting to bring the cats in.”

Many of the cats now taken to the shelter are euthanized. Kirlin suggests bringing Dr. Susan Krebsbach from Madison to Wausau in September to meet with Wausau, Weston, and other interested government units to learn about her successful Dane County program. Kirlin says it’s quite simple.  “Well, they’re sterilized, they’re vaccinated for rabies, and their ear is tipped, so they’re out, which is more that what the cats have that are out there now.”  The ears are tipped or notched so that animal control officers can spot cats that have already been treated.

Kirlin says it may not be perfect, but she’s hoping city government will be willing to try this.  “It’s not an end all, but we’re not making any improvements without doing something. So, there’s some programs that work better than others. The Dr. (Susan) Krebsbach program has shown that hers is successful.”

Kirlin says people catch the animals, and some take them to out-of-town veterinarians to escape the local licensing and regulations.  “You can only own a certain number of cats in the city of Wausau or these areas, so you can’t do this, they can’t take them to the vet, they can’t keep them, they have nowhere to go with them, so they’re like hiding in the shadows trying to do their thing. Why don’t we just lift it, realize that it’s actually happening in the community. Let’s see what we can do to help mitigate some of the problems and make it a more palatable situation while reducing the population over a period of time.”

The Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee heard some of the pros and cons of a Trap, Neuter, and Relocate program Monday evening.

(Listen to our interview with Mary Kirlin on our website, here.)

 

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