A pilot program designed to tackle the city’s feral cat problem has run its course, so beginning Nov. 1, the shelter will no longer accept feral cats or routinely provide spay/neuter services for them.
Instead, the staff will encourage residents to work with nonprofit groups. The city also will help support grant writing for nonprofits.
The topic will be discussed during the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control’s regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m., today at 4900 Martin Street. The public is welcome to attend.
The pilot program started in 2014, when Fort Worth Animal Care and Control partnered with local animal organizations to help with the feral cat problem in the Fairmount community.
“The program’s intent was to be a short-term kickoff to a community-run program,” said Tim Morton, assistant director for animal welfare for the city.
Funding for the program, for Trap Neuter Return or TNR and Return to Field, was from a grant obtained by the Spay Neuter Network. Once the grant was exhausted, the city began using its own resources to fund the program.
“This program was very successful,” said Deanna Sauceda, executive director of Spay Neuter Network. “TNR results in colonies shrinking down and eventually going away, if managed correctly.”
A recent email sent to supporters of the shelter by Morton explained the timeline of the program and more about TNR and RTF, which is allowed in Fort Worth.
“This was meant to be a nine- to 12-month pilot and not a perpetual service,” Morton said via the email. “We have reached our capacity for taking care of domestic pets; thus, excess capacity no longer exists for feral cats.”
Morton said it’s better to trap and neuter feral cats rather than put them in a shelter to await euthanasia.
“All these changes are not because we are anti-cat; they are because we are pro-cat but face certain fiscal and operational realities.”
Morton said officials are preparing a resource guide that will list low-cost spay/neuter groups and organizations that participate in trap/release programs, as well as continue to investigate ways to get grants for the groups.
Susan McFarland: 817-390-7984, @susanmcfarland1