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TNR becomes official feral cat policy in Pittsylvania County

Educational presentations planned later this month

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Feral cats are a huge burden for the Pittsylvania Pet Center.

“Sixty-five percent of all of the cats our shelter received last year were the result of unwanted litters, which were born to feral mothers,” Pittsylvania Pet Center Director James McLaughlin said.

Trapping cats living in colonies, neutering them and then returning them back to the colonies they came from is the subject of much debate, but McLaughlin said it’s really the county’s only option.

For the past decade, the county’s policy has been to round up feral cats and euthanize them.

“It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. The problem is still growing,” McLaughlin said.

Cats at the Pittsylvania Pet Center lounge around Monday, Feb. 3.
Cats at the Pittsylvania Pet Center lounge around Monday, Feb. 3. (WSLS)

Later this month, representatives from the nonprofit Alley Cat Allies will hold TNR presentations in the county.

“To provide educational resources on what trap-neuter-return is and what a community cat is,” Alley Cat Allies President Becky Robinson said.

Training will be offered during the presentations.

“We’re going to provide the information in guide books and even videos," said Robinson. "We’re going to walk through the steps to make sure people understand the process and dos and don’ts.”

Per state law, public organizations like the pet center can trap and neuter cats, but cannot return them.

A bill working its way through the General Assembly could change that, but for the time being Alley Cat Allies and the Pittsylvania Pet Center are encouraging all county residents to help.

“It’s going to save us space and resources and cut down on some of the calls for animal control, where we can focus those energies and those funds on other life-saving measures," said McLaughlin.

As of Monday, the dates, times and locations of Alley Cat Allies’ presentations had not been released.