January 7, 2007
Cat owners are aware of the down time during this part of the year when cats are not able to go into heat. It is a time when they are not able to increase their own population.
In Madison County, they are concerned about a recent rise in stray cats. The animal shelter is being forced to put some four-legged friends down because of what happened over the summer.
Their faces show no worry. Their eyes show no concern. The number of cages holding them lets the community know there is a big problem.
"We have a large over-population of feral cats. A lot of colonies have developed around the county," said Madison County Animal Shelter Manager Carole Heller.
The stray cats have no idea what is going on. Madison County's Animal Shelter Manager Carole Heller knows. Heller and her staff have been working for years to help the population low.
"When you have so many it takes a while. We probably at this point know that we have four or five colonies in the county," added Heller.
A colony can have anywhere from 6-50 cats. The animal shelter has 41 stray cats it knows of, but is over crowded because it only has space to hold 32 cats. The shelter is forced to euthanize those cats to make room for others if not enough are adopted even though it believes in the spay and neuter release system.
"We would like to see that happen at some point in the county. When you so many built up in a group spay and neuter release is no longer an option," added Heller.
As was the case for 150 cats in 2006.
The overflow is not just happening in Madison County, but in a lot of rural areas too. Heller says her shelter is here help scratch out the growth.
"We know we have the problem. We want to deal with it. We don't want to just ignore it, and continue to ignore it," added Heller.