Concern over what to do about feral cats was a topic of conversation at a recent Bristol Housing Authority meeting in December, explained a press release from TOMCat Animal Rescue.
The news release exact number of cats on the Bonnie Acres property is unknown and residents are worried that nothing is being done to address the problem. Shirley Corveau, president of the tenant council said, reported the press release, “It’s sad, so sad. What hurts the most is they go into the drains for warmth or to eat and then the snowplows plow them in. That’s cruelty. They are going to die under there.”
The release sadi Cynthia Mulhearn, the director of TOMcat Animal Rescue, presented a proposal to the Board of Commissioners and said there are seven cats that were trapped and neutered/spayed by volunteers back in 2013 but the group has been prevented from continuing their work due to a feeding ban being enforced on the property as well as the removal of shelters. Mulhearn was quoted, said the release, “It doesn’t make sense to trap and sterilize cats if they’re going to be left to freeze and starve after they’re returned.” noted Mulhearn, the news release said. “There are two outcomes that people expect from a feeding ban…one is that the cats starve to death, which is cruel; and two, the cats leave and become someone else’s problem which is irresponsible to neighbors surrounding the property.” The news release from TOMCat also explained that the cats can’t be relocated as there is no place for them to go. “There are no sanctuaries and not enough barns for these cats. They’re not friendly either and can’t be adopted as pets,” Mulhearni in the news release.
The TOMCat release said the group has offered to provide TNR (trap-neuter-return) services to the Housing Authority. Mulhearn stated, according to the release, “This is a great opportunity for the Board as all the work is done by volunteers and is free of charge.”
The state provides rescue groups with spay/neuter vouchers for these situations or the groups fundraise on their own.
TOMcat’s news release said, “TNR is a humane way to deal with this issue and is endorsed by leading animal welfare organizations. Trapping and sterilizing the cats is the best way to stop the cycle and the number of cats decline over time as feral cats have a shorter lifespan. Feeding bans have been tried in the past and never work.”
Supporters of TNR who attended the meeting included several Bristol residents and town councilor Calvin Brown.
The news release said TOMcat and TNR supporters would like the board to decide to act sooner rather than later as the cats are already having kittens and some residents have been threatened with eviction for feeding the cats.