LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Two local organizations are teaming up to address the feral cat overpopulation problem in the city. Lawton Animal Welfare and a group called 'Fix Lawton' are holding a public meeting tonight on a proposed Trap-Neuter-Return Program.
If the city council approves it, workers and volunteers from Fix Lawton will identify feral cat colonies in the city, trap the cats in cages, and get them spayed or neutered. They will then be returned to where they came from. Animal Welfare officers say the program eventually decreases the population since the cats can't reproduce, and it avoids euthanasia.
Taxpayers will not have to pay a single dime. While TNR starts off around $50,000 dollars, it will be funded through different donors like Lawton Fix, and a non-profit organization called Alley Cat Allies. Besides donors, volunteers will provide their time by helping to set up traps and monitoring feeding stations.
"The cats right now are reproducing uncontrollably, there are no checks and balances this will create those checks and balances", said Anderson.
Superintendent with Lawton Animal Welfare Russell Anderson said the cat population has been growing for about 30 years and they want to take action to decrease it through a trap neuter and return program.
"We are going to take them from an area, identified colonies, and return that colony exactly where it is. Part of it is getting actually feeding stations there which are raised of the ground so there is no more dumping food right onto the ground, it will be a lot healthier for them", said Anderson.
Anderson said people often feed the cats, even going out at midnight, and it's against city ordinances for anyone to feed stray and feral animals.He wants to revise the ordinance to include trap neuter and release programs
"There is no limit to what they are doing with TNR, there is a set time. There are two different theories people think that you need to put down food just enough that they can eat in a half and then there is the other thought which is what we are going to do you feed them in the morning, pull the bowls at night wash them and bring them back next morning", said Anderson.
Unlike stray cats who are use to human contact and can become adopted, he said feral cats are the total opposite. Since they are wild animals they have to be euthanized if they are caught.
" You have to put them down because we will never put them anywhere. If you look at it through the TNR eyes we fix them and put them back then they get to live out there life and its more humane", said Anderson.
Returning the cats back to their colony gives them a chance to not only live their lives.
"This is a chance for them to actually live there life out there and actually be pro-active in the community and allow them to be the mouse and rat catchers and actually give them a humane way to live", said Anderson.
Anderson said he hopes to have this topic on the council agenda December 13.
In order for the proposal to pass, Anderson said they would need 5 votes from city council members.