Community cats laying down outside
TNR helps No-Kill Utah reach its goals.
By: on October 28, 2014

Davis County Animal Care and Control recently joined two of northern Utah’s largest shelters, Salt Lake County Animal Control and West Valley City Animal Services, in declaring its intentions to go no-kill. The first order of business? Save more cats.

Partnering saves lives

Davis County Animal Care and Control is a dedicated coalition member of No Kill Utah (NKUT), an initiative led by Best Friends Animal Society that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters and animal welfare organizations to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters in Utah by 2019. Trap/neuter/return (TNR) is a big part of the no-kill equation.

This past summer, Davis County Animal Care and Control started its TNR program (supported by Best Friends Animal Society-Utah) to help reach its progressive no-kill goals. Best Friends provides Davis County animal shelter with humane traps, and helps to return the cats to the locations where they were originally picked up. Davis County animal shelter performs the spay/neuter surgeries, as well as taking care of vaccinations and ear-tipping.

“The program also provides more support to help with nuisance calls,” says Sheldon Stack, Davis County shelter specialist who works primarily with cats. “Best Friends supplies deterrents like owl statues that serve to frighten cats away, as well as rubber office mats with nubs that keep cats from digging in gardens. There are plenty of ways to keep away from properties where they are not welcome.”

The shelter also has a dedicated Best Friends cat coordinator who helps ensure that as many community cats as possible are spayed or neutered. Community cats entering a shelter can indicate that there may be more unsterilized cats in the area. The cat coordinator can then follow up to see if more TNR field work in the area is necessary. It’s a process that can help cats before they enter the shelter.

The future for felines

“The TNR program started in June, and we’re committed to five years,” says Sheldon. “People don’t understand community cats, and education is a big part of what we are doing. As more folks understand how the program works, we’re sure this can go further than the initial time commitment.”

To ensure that all Davis County municipalities are onboard, Best Friends meets with city councils to explain the benefits of TNR. Of the 15 cities in the county, 13 already have enacted ordinances that make TNR possible. “So far every city council we’ve presented at has agreed to take part in the TNR program,” says Arlyn Bradshaw, director of Best Friends Animal Society-Utah and Salt Lake County City Council member.

Arlyn is also excited about more areas embracing Utah Senate Bill 57, which sanctions the work of TNR across the state. He sees Davis County as a great example of what organizations working together can accomplish for both animals and people. The program not only will reduce the number of cats entering the shelter, but it will do so without costing taxpayers any more money.

“I was very impressed with the leadership and administration of Davis County in taking such a proactive stance on community cats,” says Arlyn. “It’s not just good for the cats. It’s also good for the whole community.”

“So far the community is responding in a positive way,” says Sheldon. “We’re already getting calls from the public who want to know how they can help with community cat colonies.”

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