The Feral Cat Situation in Sioux Falls
Recently, Sioux Falls animal rescues have been overwhelmed with feline intakes. As Sioux Falls has grown so has the feral cat population in and around the area. Currently a majority of rescues that work with cats are on an intake hold as they are all well beyond capacity.. both physically and financially. A Sioux Falls resident who encounters a pregnant, stay cat is hard pressed to find a rescue to aid and shelter that mother cat or any other cat in need. In lieu of forming another rescue that will immediately fill up, we are looking to address the problem at its source by forming a coalition of rescues and passionate cat people to implement and sustain a TNR program for the area. This program would be run and funded independently as a 50c3 non profit organization funded thru grants and donations and would require nothing from the city other than the blessing of allowing us to carry out our mission.
TNR is a scientifically proven and humane form of feral cat population control involving: Trapping, Neutering, and Returning the “un adoptable” feral cats to the areas they inhabit. Completely removing all the cats will only create room for even more cats to take over the space so returning the feral and unadoptable cats to the area they inhabit is crucial to population control. A neutered and rabies vaccinated Tom cat will keep other males out of his territory helping to break the breeding cycle in that area. It should be mentioned that we spay females as well and kittens and “friendly” cats get moved to rescue for adoption into homes. To reiterate, completely removing all the cats from an area will only cause population to increase with the newly unoccupied turf. Its a natural phenomenon known as “the vacuum effect “ and has been scientifically proven. When done correctly TNR is the most effective and humane feline population control. In Sioux Falls there is currently no policy to deal w feral or colony cats. At this point any program is better than what our current policies are.
Unfortunately at this time there is an ordinance in place that does not prohibit, but can (and is in some cases) be used against TNR. Through nation wide research we have been working with a federal level animal rights attorney to draft an ordinance to put into place to protect the TNR program without negating current city ordinances. TNR is so needed that this legal work will be done for the city PRO-BONO.
If we win, then in the long term Animal control and the Humane society will see feline calls/euthanasia numbers drop, local rescues will see intakes drop, and with sterilized colony cats the areas that have cat problems will notice less and less younger cats and kittens running around. (Again, removing every cat in an area will only result in a resurgence of cats in said area. )
Ultimately we have nothing to lose, only something to gain here. If we lose nothing changes… Sioux Falls animal rescues and the Humane Society will continue to drown in cat intakes (where to put them, how to pay for them) Animal control will continue to burn resources dealing with feral cat calls, issuing citations to well meaning citizens, current euthanasia rates will continue to rise, and the feral cat problem areas will only heighten.