LORANE, Ore. — Feb. 26 is World Spay Day, which brings awareness about pet overpopulation.
In Lane County alone, there are an estimated 20,000 feral cats. But a trap, neuter and release program is working to get the population in check.
At Rick Hughes’ home in Lorane, he takes care of 17 feral cats.
“I’m a pet person. They love me so,” Hughes said.
He’s actually a dog lover. The cats came by chance. It started with two, and then he found a cat with a liter. He says a couple of years ago it got out of hand.
Hughes contacted Greenhill Humane Society about its trap, neuter and release program. Greenhill provided traps and let Hughes know which day to bring in feral cats to be spayed or neutered.
It takes patience to trap the cats, but for Hughes it’s the right option. When he notices new cats, he contacts Greenhill for a TNR appointment. Once approved, he traps them and brings them to Greenhill.
Greenhill has provided the service free of charge for four years thanks to a grant from PetSmart charities.
“On the days that we do the feral cat TNR, we can do up to 10 a day,” said Jaclyn Semple, Greenhill Assistant Director.
They can do up to 40 in a week, in addition to other pets at the shelter. All total, Greenhill performs over 3,000 surgeries a year in an effort to reduce pet overpopulation.