Jamestown City Council members learned more about a proposed program and ordinance to reduce the number of feral cats in the city.
Chautauqua County Humane Society‘s Executive Director Kellie Roberts presented on the Trap, Neuter, Vaccination, and Return; or TNVR, program. She said community cats are cats that are not owned, “So they may be feral, you know, not tamed cats, or they may be friendly cats that just don’t have a home. And we know that they are all around the city and some people are taking care of them right now. But we have been working on this ordinance to make it more official. That it’s okay to do that and what the rules are for that type of program.”
Roberts said the lack of veterinary services in the area made it hard to get the program going before, but were able to arrange surgery slots with Operation Pets in Blasdell, New York that only cost $25 per cat, “And the way that the program works, is that folks in the community who we call colony caregivers, you know they feed these cats, they take care of them, watch out for them, a lot of animals have been spayed and neutered on their own as it is already. So we want to help them and we want to let people know it’s okay to do that.”
Roberts said the Humane Society estimates the cost of the two-year pilot program to be $16,000 and has applied for grants from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to go toward that in addition to the proposed $5,000 from the City. The City’s funding is already in the 2022 budget. Roberts said while the pilot program will only take place in Jamestown, the Humane Society will continue to help cats found outside of the city at their Strunk Road location.
Public Safety Committee Chair Brent Sheldon said the program is a way to humanely reduce the number of stray cats in Jamestown, “And also to reduce the number of rabid animals. It’s very expensive. If you’re bitten by a stray cat, they cannot catch that cat to be treated for rabies, so that would be a cost savings there. Some of you may have seen that there was a rabid fox in Washington D.C. over the weekend that bit, I believe, nine people. So we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had a lot of rabid animals in Chautauqua County but there are some programs out there that can help reduce those numbers.”
Council’s Finance and Public Safety Committees also approved two resolutions using American Rescue Plan funding to purchase 75 new service duty pistols in the amount of $9,643 and $40,000 to purchase mobile data terminals for 12 police vehicles.