Department of Health and Animal Control News

Posted on: August 15, 2016

South Orange Launches Humane Program to Reduce Feral Cat Population

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On June 27, 2016, the Board of Health in South Orange enacted an Ordinance to address the growing feral cat population in the Township.

For years, the Township and many other municipalities in NJ have tried unsuccessfully to combat feral cat overpopulation by trapping and removing cats. Village President Sheena Collum and the Board of Health have decided it’s time to try something different: a method called TNVR.

TNVR stands for Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return, a process that involves humanely trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, vaccinating them against rabies and other common illnesses, and returning them to their outdoor “home” to live out their lives. A “colony caretaker” provides food, fresh water and adequate shelter to the colony cats and monitors their health. Neutering the cats nearly eliminates nuisance behaviors that are so bothersome to residents and are associated with hormones and reproduction, such as territorial marking, urine spraying, unburied feces, caterwauling, and fighting. TNVR is proven to be the least costly and most efficient way to reduce feral cat populations. It is also the only humane method. TNVR is endorsed by numerous well respected animal welfare organizations including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Humane Society of the United States, and the National Animal Control Association.

There are an estimated 50 million feral cats in the US according to the Humane Society of the United States. Unfortunately, feral cats have reverted to a wild state and are not appropriate as house pets so those that wind up in the shelter system are almost always euthanized. Every year, tens of thousands of feral cats are euthanized in NJ’s shelters simply because there is no alternative.

South Orange will enlist a local animal welfare organization, People for Animals (PFA) to help administer the program in order to reduce the cost burden to taxpayers. PFA has operated a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Hillside for 30 years and will be serving as the program’s “Sponsor.” The Sponsor is responsible for monitoring and administrating the TNVR Program. This includes responding to and abating nuisance complaints about cat’s outdoors, overseeing cat caretakers, raising funds to support the program, and reporting statistics about the program to the Board of Health and Health Department annually. PFA will also host TNVR training workshops for caretakers and loan out traps to support those who are trying to help feral cats in their neighborhoods. Residents that want to become a colony caretaker or needs help with feral cat populations are encouraged to contact PFA directly at 973-282-0890 ext. 222 or email TNR@pfaonline.org.

“Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pets and reproductively intact house cats that are allowed to roam unsupervised. Cats are very prolific so once they start reproducing, the populations grow rapidly.” said Jane Guillaume, PFA’s Executive Director/President. “But people are the reason that feral cats are out there in the first place, and it is our responsibility to humanely solve the problem we have created. We are thrilled to be able to lend a hand to help South Orange stabilize and reduce the feral cat populations.”

100% of all donations to PFA earmarked for South Orange TNVR go directly to offset costs of medical and surgical care for feral cats in South Orange. Those who wish to support the TNVR program can do so by going online at www.pfaonline.org or mail to People for Animals (clearly marked “For South Orange TNVR” in the memo field) to PFA, 401 Hillside Ave., Hillside, NJ 07205.

About People for Animals

Founded in 1980, People for Animals, Inc. are an independent nonprofit animal welfare organization not affiliated with any other humane society or any national or local animal welfare groups. The primary mission of PFA is to eliminate animal suffering through affordable essential healthcare, public policy advocacy and community programs. Our experienced veterinarians perform over 22,000 spays and neuters annually at our two low-cost high-quality spay/neuter clinics located in Hillside and Robbinsville, NJ.

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