Trap-Neuter-Return, or more commonly known as TNR, is a program designed to control the population and health of feral cats. These programs are beneficial not only to cats but to people in communities where they live.
The process goes that feral cats are trapped, sterilized, vaccinated and given a general health screening. Sick or injured cats are treated or euthanized depending on their condition. Cats are then returned to their “colony” where they are no longer susceptible to disease (or spreading it) and cannot reproduce.
Some cats and kittens, when found tame enough, are turned over to animal rescue groups that place them in homes with human companions. Even some not so tame feral kitties have been relocated to farms where they live long, healthy, happy lives in solitude as barn kitties.
In recent years, groups like St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach have been established to help control feral populations within cities where their presence can become problematic. These organizations, like many animal welfare groups, are grassroots and start from the ground up by volunteers.
Most groups like STLFCO establish themselves as nonprofits so that they can raise money to stay in business. While manpower may be volunteer it takes money to vet, feed, provide shelter for, and monitor colonies of what is essentially hoards of wild animals. Costs can be astronomical in a city the size of St. Louis.
To offset those expenses and provide a valuable community service these organizations sometimes partner with city administrations. The city, for their part, typically grants monies to apply to the organization’s operating costs.
The City of St. Louis was partnered with STLFCO, until now.
On Tuesday St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach announced that they were halting operations immediately. The city notified the organization that they would no longer be granting them any money. All allocations had been halted as of June 30. Furthermore, there would be no future allocations from the city’s budget for the TNR program.
That’s a $9,000.00 per year blow to the organization’s budget.
This is what STLFCO had to say about it on Facebook:
Organizations like STLFCO are scattered all over Missouri and while many are nonprofit organizations some are just individuals or groups of concerned citizens that operate on their on time, and their own dime.
As indicated in their statement, STLFCO will not resume regular operations until they have been able to pay for veterinary services received since the June 30th cutoff by the city.
In the interim the organization is looking for ways to secure new funding for their mission. There are currently several fundraisers active throughout social media to help them get caught up. Upon last review it appeared that several thousand dollars had been raised through various outlets.
For a whole lot more information on TNR and what STLFCO does for these animals and the communities they live in, check out their www.stlfco.org and click on options in the “What We Do” link in the navigation bar.