APL looks to expand program to control stay cats

CLEVELAND - There are roughly 75,000 stray cats in the city of Cleveland according to the Cleveland APL. Now a program that the APL started in 2008 could get bigger.

The Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR program is working according to Cleveland APL President and CEO Sharon Harvey. For the first time, last year, the number of cats surrendered at the Cleveland APL dropped. "We know this is an effective way to do it," said Harvey.

The current city ordinance only allows for residents to trap cats. The Cleveland APL would like to see that changed to allow the APL to trap cats as well. "The current program residents will voluntarily participate," added Harvey.

Sandy Smith is one resident who has participated in the program and she agrees that it is working. "I got involved because my neighborhood was being overrun with cats," said Smith. Smith got the information on the TNR program and together with her neighbor they trapped the cats, took the animals to the APL for sterilization and then returned the cats to the neighborhood. Is it working? "I think it has made a huge difference," said Smith.

The Cleveland APL no longer euthanizes healthy cats. This is a better alternative said Harvey.

On Tuesday, Harvey and others went to a Cleveland City Council meeting. There was a safety committee meeting for resolution number 892-14. It establishes a working committee to study the effectiveness of Trap-Neuter-Return and community education programs aimed at decreasing free roaming cats in Cleveland neighborhoods. This was the first meeting on the topic.

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