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Havre animal shelter addressing cat problem

 

October 26, 2018



The Havre Animal Shelter has begun a program aimed at reducing the feral cat population that is becoming a major issue in the community.

Havre Animal Control Officer Peter Federspiel said the problem is a mixture of a growing cat population as well as an inability to get cats adopted quickly. By comparison, 97 percent of dogs that come in to the shelter are adopted, Federspiel added.

Live traps have been set to catch feral cats, Federspiel said, adding that the traps are simple and humane. Cat food is placed inside a cage and once the cat goes into the cage, the trap door is sprung shut, Federspiel said.

“It’s very humane. We do have some of them that will be pawing at the cage or actually running into it that get some cuts and scrapes. Other than that, it’s very humane,” he said.

Funding for this new campaign comes from the money raised from September’s Woofstock which was put on by the Havre Animal Shelter’s nonprofit funding foundation. Federspiel said the shelter will try to cover as much of Havre as the funds will allow.

The spaying and neutering is done by Eastside Animal Hospital at a discounted rate. Federspiel said he has spoken with Bear Paw Veterinary Service about helping out as well, but talks are still ongoing. Federspiel said they have no in-house vet, and the cost to spay or neuter the cats is about $50 per cat.

Federspiel added that he is working on acquiring more funding for this program.

“I have applied for some grants,” he said. “We haven’t been approved for any of the grants, though. It’s pretty competitive for the grants for this. It’s hard for us to compete with big cities that have on-site vets.”

Federspiel said he takes about six cats each week to get spayed or neutered and then holds those cats for an additional five days to make sure they recover. Once they recover, the cats will be released.

For people who have outdoor cats, Federspiel said he hasn’t quite worked out a way to separate strays from pet cats. He added all cats that are running around Havre will get spayed or neutered at some point. The shelter has a cat in the back that is an unclaimed domestic, friendly cat that is being held until they can find a home for it, he said.

“I have talked to a couple of people that have cats that are outdoor cats. They’ve taken them inside now that we are doing this. A couple of those are not fixed and we’re going to include those in this program and get them fixed because they are part of the problem,” Federspiel said.

Federspiel said he wasn’t planning on starting this project so soon. He had originally anticipated a start date sometime in the winter. He added that he didn’t have everything in place when he started to house all the cats he trapped in the beginning. Another off-site facility is used where the overflow of cats can be sheltered.

“I’ve done all right so far in here,” Federspiel said.

He added that his main facility off of Second Street can house 13 cats long term but the kennels can be divided if needed and that increases capacity to 26 cats. Holding that many cats would only be short term, he added.

Federspiel said he moved up the start date because a local maintenance person at Oakwood Village had alerted Federspiel about a cat problem in that area on the east end of town.

Federspiel is starting the spay and neuter and release program in the Oakwood Village area along U.S. Highway 2 including the Hacienda Trailer Park. He added the area of operations will cover three blocks.

Federspiel said he is almost done trapping and spaying/neutering cats in the initial area and has about five or 10 cats left to trap before he can move on.

Federspiel did not say what area he would focus on next.

“I’ve had a lot of people call from other areas who are expressing concern about the number of cats in their neighborhood or their yards,” he added. “Hopefully, we can move on after this. This entire thing is just based on funding.”

 

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