Centerville city officials are moving forward on a partnership with the SICSA Pet Adoption Center on a trap-neuter-return program regarding stray or community cats.

Centerville partners with SICSA on trap-neuter-return program

A decision by the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center to stop taking in cats in April left many municipalities in the area pondering how they would handle an estimated 50,000 stray felines in the county and local neighborhoods.

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ARC had contracts with a number of municipalities to remove unwanted cats from their communities, but those contracts were not renewed last year by the county.

Centerville officials and representatives from SICSA had a conversational meeting with families in the Fernshire and Bellingham neighborhoods in late May to discuss developing a trap-neuter-return program and gauge interest in community participation.

“Community cats have not been a major issue in the city – we receive only sporadic comments about them,” City Manger Wayne Davis said.

Calls to SICSA, located in Kettering, about what to do with felines went up after the ARC made its announcement in April. The organization’s cat program has been well-received by communities looking for answers.

“We are considering this program on a pilot basis and looking at a model similar to what West Carrollton and Kettering have already implemented. As with all programs in the city, we will evaluate its success on an on-going basis,” Davis explained.

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SICSA president and CEO, Nora Vondrell, said she was impressed with Centerville’s efforts to specifically include members of the community affected and interested in the issue as part of the discussion on how to handle the situation.

“SICSA presented at the meeting and the feedback we received from folks who were there was very positive,” Vondrell said.

She added the program is the most humane and effective method known for managing feral or community cat populations.

As part of the program, when the city receives a report of a stray cat, law enforcement locates and traps the cat. SICSA then will spay or neuter the cat, and if it’s healthy and friendly, will place the cat up for adoption.

“This will cut down on the unnecessary euthanization of cats,” Vondrell said.

If SICSA doesn’t have room for stray cats, the cat will have an ear clipped as a form of identification that they’ve been spayed or neutered and will be released where it was trapped. If the cat’s owner can be identified, then it will be returned to its owner.

Moving forward, the city will work with SICSA to promote the TNR program for general understanding within the community.

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Centerville has scheduled a public hearing for July 15 to make revisions to its current ordinance to prohibit “reckless” feeding of animals rather than the general prohibition that currently exists. That will allow people in the program to leave food in traps.

“I think this is a good idea,” Vondrell said. “The idea is to not have people just dump a bag of food out there for community cats because it attracts other animals like raccoons and squirrels.”

The Petco Foundation recently awarded SICSA a $15,000 grant to support its Satellite Cat Adoption Program.

The grant will help increase the number of cats available for adoption by addressing shelter space and access limitations.

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