Berkeley Animal Center works to curb feral cat population

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCBD) – Berkeley County is considering a program that would allow community members to help feral cats.

The initiative would allow people to pick up feral cats, take them to the Berkeley County Animal Center for neutering, and then release them back into the wild.

The animal center said it believes the new program could save the lives of many cats in the future.

“This will allow us, you know, to dramatically increase the release rate of live cats in Berkeley County,” said Debbie Allen, shelter manager at the Berkeley Animal Center.

Here’s how it would work: “When healthy cats are brought to the shelter, they will be vaccinated, spayed and neutered, microchipped, and then released back into the community where they were.”

The Trap, Vaccination, Neuter and Release, or TVNR, program will help you.

Animal advocates say this has been shown to reduce the cat population over time, and it could help the Berkeley Animal Center reach the number of no-kill shelters with cats.

They have been officially a no-kill dog shelter for the past three years.

“It stabilizes the colonies and the cats that are in the community. Now the numbers are not increasing because of course we prevent them from reproducing, so there are no new cats coming.

This is a partnership with other local shelters and several organizations.

“The Massachusetts SPCA will send veterinarians to help us. And Best Friends, which is a national organization, supports us and advises us.

At this time, it is against Berkeley County ordinance to have feral cat communities or feed feral cats. This means that cats cannot be picked up, neutered and released from a joint in these areas.

“It needs to be written into our prescription,” Allen said. “They need to allow community cats in the county.”

Once the Berkeley County Board approves this change, Trap Vaccinate Neuter and Release can begin.

This program could be implemented within the next 90 days.

Benjamin M. Yerger