Alley Cat Allies | Feral Friends Network Profile: Humane Society of Charlotte Trap-Neuter-Return Encourages

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Some residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding Mecklenburg County call the municipal. This is not an emergency, but they will speak with Leah Massey, the first-ever community coordinator at the Humane Society of Charlotte (HSC). She'll talk about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and caregiving tips if you're interested in helping them, or if they're concerned about their property.

Alley Cat Allies Associate Director of Community Commitment and Events Brianna Lovell (right) visits with the Humane Society of Charlotte Cat Community Coordinator Leah Massey.

This is all part of the Humane Society of Charlotte's TNR program, which is about a year ago in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Municipal Animal Care and Control. HSC had been performing low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for community cats brought in by the public for a few years, but was not actively doing TNR until it hired Massey. She had the organization join the Alley Allied Cat Feral Friends Network and got to work trapping.

Alley Cat Allies visited HSC at the end of September to learn more about its Community Cats Project. Our staff members were excited about their commitment to help the community and bolster TNR in Charlotte.

The Charlotte community is TNR embracing, but the approach is still new to some people, says Massey.

"People do not know that this program does exist, that it can be done for these cats," she says.

From January through September, 2018, Massey carried out TNR for 521 cats, and the shelter facilitated by the public. The shelter provides a spay or neuter surgery, eartip, and rabies vaccination for $ 20. HSC loans out traps for the public, so Massey educates residents about doing TNR on their own. However, if the residents are older, they will do it.

The Humane Society of Charlotte had been partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and the 66 percent live release rate. The municipal shelter had already started a kitten nursery, and the organizations decided TNR was the next step.

As the community program grows, it is expected to be strategically targeted by large populations. She is looking for volunteers who can help in their neighborhoods. The Humane Society of Charlotte is also working on the city's cat market, which has a number of requirements and defines them as "owner" if they feed animals for more than 14 days in a row. This car would be unfair responsibilities on the cat caregivers.

"We're still in the beginning phases of how to best make [the community cat program] grow here in Charlotte, "says Massey. "We're trying to get people to realize there's not enough space at the shelter for them. If it's outside, it does not mean it's living its worst life. Starting the conversation has kind of been the big thing. "

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