Pros and Cons to Having a Trap, Neuter, Release Program in Richmond County

A lynx named "Black" peers from a container before being placed on an airplane in Mexico City, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, which will take it to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. The owner of Black, who had it as a pet in Pachuca, turned the lynx over to authorities after he was unable to continue caring for it, according to Mexico's Wildlife Protection agency, PROFEPA. Black joined another lynx, a puma and a coyote for the trip to the Colorado wildlife sanctuary where animals can roam relatively freely. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

In just a couple of weeks commissioners will finally see a copy of the new and improved Augusta Animal Ordinance.

The several page document has been months in the making, but one thing you won’t find on there is a trap and release program. That isn’t stopping people from asking for it though.

Trap and Release, also known as TNR has been voted down several times by the Augusta Animal subcommittee.

What this program does is allows volunteers and vets to go out and catch feral cats, spay and neuter them and then return them to the outside world.

There have been minor tweaks and major changes, and the for the most part members of the Augusta Animal Subcommittee are happy with their finalized version of the animal ordinance.

Some say it doesn’t take into consideration a large group of animals in Richmond County… feral cats.

“What we’re doing right now, and what we’re going to do in the future if we don’t accept the TNR, we’re going to continue doing the euthanization, which is not benefiting anybody your rates will still be high,” Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and others say the subcommittee is doing the community a disservice by not implementing a trap and release program for feral cats.

“You have to look at the reason why this subcommittee was put together, it was put together for the simple reason of reducing the euthanization,” Guilfoyle said.

Some people say it’s just too risky. Dr. Mark Tribby says he’s not against helping these animals, but he worries wild animals could infect healthy people and pets with their diseases.

“The big concern is should the county be responsible for it, authorize it, and therefore being legally liable for potential rabies,” the doctor explained.

Even if a cat doesn’t have rabies, Tribby says TNR just isn’t a good idea, because animals need to be cared for on a daily basis.

“We never would think of having a young puppy or a young dog spayed and neutered and returned to the wild,” Tribby explained.

Guilfoyle says that’s not a problem, there are several volunteers willing to care for these animals.

“That’s the care and the thought process that people in Augusta, Richmond County. If they’re willing to take money out of their own pocket, to care for an animal, let them do it it’s not costing us taxpayers one dime,” Guilfoyle said.

On January 26th commissioners will look over the revised ordinance.

Guilfoyle says he will also present them with some of the Pros to having a TNR program.

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