Delta asks for help in controlling colonies of feral cats

DELTA — Feral cats are a problem in many communities, and the town of Delta is trying to come up with an ordinance to help control populations.

Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas said some people feed colonies of feral cats in the town. He wants to know where the colonies are and how many cats are in each, so the town can develop a program for controlling wild cat populations.

Thomas said anyone who knows about feral cat colonies can make an anonymous call to the city animal control office at 874-1078 or the county animal shelter at 874-2149.

“There is a stray cat problem, and what I want is buy-in from the community,” Thomas said.

Determining how many wild cats are out there will help the city come up with a solution, he said, but no one who calls will get in trouble, even though people who feed cat colonies could technically be considered owners.

Delta Police Department spokeswoman Jamie Head said colonies can range from five to 30 cats and can cover several city blocks.

Some people take care of feral cat colonies by feeding them and practicing “treat, neuter and return,” known as TNR in animal control circles, she said.

“Communities that use TNR find it is very effective in volume management,” she said.

According to the Web site of Alley Cat Allies, trapping, neutering and then releasing wild cats can stabilize the size of the colony, and numbers gradually go down because breeding stops.

Mike Duncan of the Montrose Animal Shelter said an experimental TNR program is being conducted in Montrose County.

The problem of too many feral cats is created by people who don’t have their own cats spayed or neutered, or people move away and leave their cats behind, Duncan said.

Cedaredge also has a big problem with feral cats, said Jackie Dapkus, president of the Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control Shelter.

Cedaredge doesn’t have a trap, neuter and return program, Dapkus said, and she doesn’t think it works in towns.

“TNR would have to occur in more rural areas,” she said. “You can’t release 30 cats back into a trailer park.”


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