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Animal Advocates: Trap-Neuter-Return Program Could Solve Neighborhood's Feral Cat Problem

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) - An update now to a Consumer Justice Investigation on a North Richland Hills neighborhood overrun with feral cats.

After calling the city nearly 70 times, neighbors called CBS11's Cristin Severance for Consumer Justice. Then, animal advocates contacted her after the story aired saying a Trap-Neuter-Return program [TNR] could help control the feral cat population.

The program would mean cats are humanely trapped, neutered and returned to where they live.

TNR groups say just removing cats from an area means more will move in and the cycle never ends.

"If the cats are fixed, they aren't having babies. That's the number one thing, you are controlling the reproducing. Number two, the cats aren't fighting because they aren't mating, they're not spraying, not doing bad behavior," said Friends of Arlington Animal Services [FAAS] member, Debbie McClendon.

Colony Rabies -feral cats
Feral cats posing a rabies threat. (credit: CBS 11 News)

According the FAAS, the city of Arlington has seen a 48 percent decrease in cat intakes to animal services since implementing a TNR program in 2013.

But North Richland Hills does not have a trap, neuter and return program. A city spokesperson told CBS11, they don't believe it would work. They sent CBS11 the following comment:

Feral cats are not a widespread problem in north richland hills, as the vast majority of residents keep their cats indoors. There is a cat problem in this particular neighborhood because a resident has been feeding them. A trap-neuter-release program itself is not likely to resolve the nuisance and public health concerns these neighbors have. As long as the cats continue to have this food source readily available, they will remain a problem in this neighborhood and continue to be a nuisance for these neighbors.

A multifaceted approach is needed to effectively address the concerns in this neighborhood. We feel that eliminating the food source, keeping cats indoors and controlling reproduction would be more effective in reducing public nuisance and public health concerns.

Since outdoor cats are more likely to carry disease, spread illness, get injured and die from trauma, we advocate for all cats to be kept indoors. Keeping cats indoors is the most effective way to reduce public nuisance and public health concerns.

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