Thanks to initiatives taken by the Animal Allies Club, a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats on campus has been given a trial period.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to help the feral cats on campus,” said Breana Reichert, president of the Animal Allies Club. “Hopefully it will be a mutually beneficial endeavor, both for the cats and for UVU.”
Reichert has been working on getting a campus trap-neuter-release program in place for nearly four months. She brought her plan to Jack Boswell, director of Grounds and Jim Michaelis, associate vice president for Facilities Planning. They then took the plan to the board and the plan was approved.
But it did not turn out to be that easy to help feral cats on campus. After Reichert was told the plan was approved, she was contacted by Boswell who told her the cats, after being neutered/spayed and released back on campus, would still be trapped and sent to Orem Animal Control.
Reichert explained that Orem Animal Control takes the animals they receive to the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter. The North Utah Valley Animal Shelter has recently been under scrutiny after investigators from the animal rights group PETA discovered the shelter had been selling their cats and dogs to the University of Utah for experimentation.
Not only was Reichert worried about the fate of the animals sent to Orem Animal Control, but she does not feel that simply destroying individual cats is the most efficient way to control the population.
“If the old colony were to disappear from the area, new cats would come to fill the void. This would mean a never-ending cycle of trapping for the school,” said Reichert. “In addition to efficiency, these [trap-neuter-release] programs are also the most humane way to deal with feral cats, as it allows the colony to stay intact without the population growing.”
Reichert reached out to Daye Abbott, the Feral Fix Director of Utah’s No More Homeless Pets branch. With the help of Abbott, Reichert was able to come to an agreement with the grounds and facilities faculty that a trap-neuter-release program would be the most efficient and humane way to deal with the feral cats on campus.
Michaelis has agreed to stop Grounds faculty from trapping cats and to allow a trap-neuter-release trial period. In a gesture of gratitude to the school, No More Homeless Pets Utah has agreed to spay/neuter and vaccinate the cats for free.
Though the exact length of the trial period has not been set, Reichert and the Animal Allies Club remain hopeful this will be a lasting change.