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  • PACC Community Cats Project expanding

    Mar 02, 2015 | Read More News
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    Pima Animal Care Center’s Community Cats Project (CCP) is now in full-swing, with 1,100 cats sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor homes since August. An additional 200 cats have been served by the program, but were adopted after trapping and in trap

    The program, originally available to only nine ZIP codes, is expanding, and the media is invited to an open house Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Community Cats Project trailer. Representatives from PACC, Best Friends Animal Society, and Best Friends staffer Peter Wolf will be available for interviews. Wolf is a prominent trap-neuter-return (TNR) researcher and national expert on the topic.

    Launched in August, the three-year-long Community Cats Project is funded by a nearly $1 million grant from Best Friends and its partner, PetSmart Charities®, which paid for three Best Friends staff members to run a TNR program at PACC. Additionally, Pima County invested $600,000 to fund three years of sterilizations services.

    Under the project, the Best Friends staff trap free-roaming community cats, get them spayed or neutered, then vaccinated and ear-tipped. The cats are then returned to their outdoor homes. When too many requests to trap cats come in for the three-person staff to handle, the staff provides traps on loan or referrals for traps to community members. Additionally, they offer training in trapping, and give community members spay/neuter vouchers so residents can trap the cats, take them for sterilization and then return the cats to the community themselves.

    The community cats program originally targeted nine central Pima County ZIP codes for TNR: 85705, 85706, 85710, 85711, 85712, 85713, 85714, 85716 and 85719. Late last month, Pima County and Best Friends entered into an agreement that will allow the Best Friends staff based at PACC to service other Pima County zip codes as they deem appropriate.

    The project’s expansion will allow residents in ZIP codes outside of the original area to receive information from the Best Friends staff on where to borrow traps and how to use them. The residents will also receive vouchers for free sterilization surgeries on the free-roaming cats they trap. In some cases – such as when there are large colonies of cats located in one area of town – the Best Friends employees may be able to help with the trapping.

    “We are crowd-sourcing the community cat concept,” said Kristin Barney, PACC Chief of Operations. “This project has trapped hundreds of cats, but we know there are many more free-roaming cats that need to be reached. The expansion of this program will help residents who want to stop the breeding of community cats in their own backyards.”

    The TNR partnership between PACC, Best Friends and PetSmart Charities was approved by Pima County Supervisors in August and its stated goal was to trap, neuter and return 5,000 cats during each year of the grant. Sterilizing 5,000 cats this year would reduce the number of cats living outdoors in our communities, reduce PACC’s cat-euthanasia rate by 25 percent, and help move PACC toward its ultimate goal of being a no-kill shelter.