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Letter to the editor: Torrington’s feral cats

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 17th, 2013

I am writing concerning the feral cat problem in Torrington. Many communities have faced this problem (caused by irresponsible pet owners who fail to spay and neuter their pets), and there are basically only two ways of dealing with it.

One, we become a kill community and trap and euthanize the cats, which nobody really wants to pay for or be involved in. Or, two, we become a humane community and take advantage of a program that other communities all over the planet have used to deal with these feral cat communities, and that is a program called trap/neuter/release.

In most of these communities (including ours), good-hearted animal lovers feed the wild cats. This is a good thing, but the wild cats continue to reproduce, and, pretty soon, you have more cats than what you know what to do with. That is the problem here.

With a trap/neuter/release program, the wild cats are live-trapped, neutered (the ears are notched to identify those that have already been fixed) and released back where they were trapped. The good-hearted individuals continue to feed them. Eventually, through attrition, the problem takes care of itself.

So, how do we accomplish this? Well, there was a time (a much better time, in my estimation) when the EWC vet tech program did low-cost spays and neuters for individuals in the community. This helped stem the flow of unwanted kittens and cats (and puppies, as well) until the program was discontinued because some of the vets complained the program was “cutting into their profits.” Now we see where we are.

I would like to see this program reinstituted. It provided hands-on experience for the vet tech students and a valuable service to the community, and it only costs pennies per animal for anesthesia. I know that I would donate money to the college to cover these expenses, and so would many other animal lovers.

So … it’s up to us, the citizens, to decide. Do we want to be a kill community? Or do we want to be a humane community? Or, do we want to just continue the way that we are and do nothing?

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