ON HIGH ALERT: KEEPING TNR in HAYWOOD COUNTY NC
A plea for new volunteers by Susan Kumpf, Executive Director
Update: A TNR cattery alternative is not yet identified. LUYE’s waiting list far exceeds the appointments available through 2022. We regretfully inform callers that no sites can be added effective 8/23/22.
Local rescue groups learned earlier this year that a new cattery and operations manager are needed for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to continue in Haywood County into 2023 and beyond. After 13 years, the current cattery volunteers (my husband and I) must step back from its demands. A new solution is needed.
I was proudly part of the team that eartipped 388 cats in TNR’s first year, which was launched in March 2009 by Haywood Spay/Neuter (then known as HAWA) with the help of a small grant and big leadership under its then-Executive Director, Penny Wallace. Lend Us Your Ear (LUYE) launched its TNR program in late 2018 after they dropped theirs. Dedicated space at our home has served as a TNR cattery.
Without TNR, Haywood County and nearly all communities routinely killed shelter cats to make room for more in an endless cycle of “humane euthanasia.” Kill shelters start with ferals, but litters and friendly cats are not exempt. It was a new idea to control the cat population with spay/neuter – or as we say today, “DUH!”
Volunteers remain the solution for now
Unlike some counties across the nation, TNR is not among the responsibilities assigned to animal services. From the beginning, spay/neuter of unowned community cats has been shouldered by individuals and rescue groups and funded by grants and individual donations. North Carolina excludes unowned cats from spay/neuter vouchers despite research showing that they are the primary source of cat “intakes” coming into the shelter at taxpayer expense. TNR is still omitted from Haywood’s ordinances, which treat cats in the same manner as dogs. Think “leash laws.”
TNR’s cost benefits to taxpayers also include fewer cat complaint calls, lower demands on shelter staff, lower veterinary expenses to care for cats until they are euthanized, and tons less of animal bodies hauled to the county landfill – the gruesome reality of kill shelters.
Haywood County Animal Services (HCAS) met with LUYE earlier this year to identify the scope of the challenge. HCAS is not staffed or funded to incorporate TNR among its responsibilities, with no relief in sight.
Without a workable cattery, 2022 will be remembered as the last year with TNR in Haywood County. Keeping TNR active requires:
- establishing a new, managed cattery space before the end of the year,
- filling the helpline volunteer spot to take calls and
- scheduling sites, and
- filling the transport volunteer spot to drive trapped cats to/from Asheville weekly.
Can you help? If you love cats and appreciate the impact made through TNR, then your time to volunteer is NOW. You’ll receive support and guidance from a team of like-minded cat lovers who get things done. Call 828-550-3662 today to explore how you can help keep TNR active, community cats fixed, shelter cat intake stable, and maintain the county shelter’s current no-kill status. Make 2023 another TNR year!
Another 310 EARTIPS
So far this year, LUYE volunteers trapped another 310 unfixed cats for spay/neuter, which included 150 males and 160 females. Another 7 cats were captured but discovered to be already sterilized — so they received their eartip and vaccinations while still under the effects of anesthesia. Their eartip will prevent another mis-trapping adventure as they now are clearly identified as fixed.
With about 15 more surgery days scheduled through December, LUYE anticipates it will complete at least 450 spay/neuter surgeries in 2022. Our work makes a significant impact on reducing the number of unplanned litters entering our shelter each year, saving tax payer dollars and avoiding the high risks associated with the unsterilized lifestyles of free-roaming cats.
LUYE is 15% of REGION’S TNR
LUYE is one of several TNR groups in our region supported by the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance (ASNA) in Asheville. We’re proud to say that 15% of ASNA’s community cat packages were provided free of charge to LUYE cats in 2021. They do a phenomenal job: LUYE’s 474 sterilized cats in 2021 were only 2% of ASNA’s total workload!
The community cat package includes surgery, rabies vaccination, distemper/FVRCP, ivermectin injection, and eartip. LUYE adds 30-day flea control before surgery and addresses any issues noted by clinic vets. MEOW!!
OUR MISSION is POSSIBLE
Our mission is possible thanks to the hands-on volunteers whose efforts result in fewer litters entering the county shelter and rescue facilities like Feline Urgent Rescue (FUR).
You may know LUYE’s Eartip Team from their volunteer time invested with other groups in addition to LUYE, for which they contribute as follows:
Karen Crutchfield, traps ferals/food bags/social media
Carolyn Foster, traps ferals/webinar lead/social media
Sydney Klocke, board member/FUR liaison
Hank Kumpf, board member/transport driver
Susan Kumpf, founder/board member/cattery operations
Nancy Lopeman, traps ferals/food deliveries
Kelli Miller, board member/county shelter liaison/neonatal care
Mark Moffitt, website administrator
Donna Murray, board member/neonatal care
Bonnie Regan, traps ferals
Donna Slesinger, traps & feeds ferals/monthly food deliveries
Donna Surles, traps & feeds ferals
Pati Benton, photographer
Our mission is possible thanks to the generous supporters who underwrite LUYE programs, keep our van on the road, cat chow delivered to large eartipped colonies, and free wormer and parasite solutions in the hands of those who care for our community cats and eartipped colonies. You make us PURR!!!!