There are two meetings of the Animal Advisory Commission today, Monday, January 4. Both meetings will be held at the Austin Energy Building, 721 Barton Springs, First Floor Assembly Room. Free parking is available in the parking garage behind the Austin Energy Building.
The first meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and will cover Performance Measures related to Animal Services.
The second meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. This is a continuation of the series of special meetings related to creating the Implementation Plan for the City Council. The topic for this meeting is Reducing Feral Cat Euthanasia.
A big goal of our movement is to reduce the feral cat population, thus reducing the euthanasia of feral cats. The kittens born to feral cats flood the shelter during kitten season and are euthanized in very large numbers.
Austin is lucky to have a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program at the Austin Humane Society and many other individuals and smaller groups who are trapping, sterilizing, then returning feral cats back to their colonies. TNR has proven successful in many other communities at reducing the feral cat population. This TNR effort in Austin is presumably the reason for the big drop in kitten intake at TLAC this year, but there were still way too many who died.
Austin is also lucky to not have some of the draconian policies that other cities have with dealing with feral cats. We do not punish people who feed feral cats, nor does our animal control trap and kill them (which has proven to NOT be effective at reducing their population, actually). However, 56% of the cats brought into TLAC are strays (mostly kittens born to feral mothers) and feral adult cats have a 0% chance of getting adopted.
Check out the website of Alley Cat Allies, who are the leaders in the nation for taking care of feral cats. They have one program in particular that Dr. Jefferson is interested in discussing with the AAC: TNR for stray cats that good Samaritans bring into the shelter. As long as the cat is in good condition the shelter could sterilize the cat and return back to where he came from, instead of killing him.