Harrington Uses TNR Program to Deal with Feral Cat Problem - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Harrington Uses TNR Program to Deal with Feral Cat Problem

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HARRINGTON, Del. (WBOC) - The town of Harrington was honored this week for its TNR program. That stands for trap-neuter-release. The town is using the method to deal with its feral cat population.

Danny Tartt says the TNR program started in 2012.

"The city did receive complaints on a regular basis about stray and feral cats," he said. "Just driving through the city, especially at night or late evening, you could see stray and feral cats around everywhere."

Tartt went to the city and suggested TNR.

"Cats are humanely trapped," explained Hetti Brown, Delaware State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. "They are spay or neutered and vaccinated under anesthesia by a licensed veterinarian. And they're returned back to the community."

"The more information I got on the TNR program," said Terry Tieman, Harrington town manager. "The more it made sense to me to do things that way. What we were doing before, trapping cats and delivering them to the SPCA was not working."

Tieman says Harrington changed its ordinances to allow the program and got traps for it. About a dozen volunteers formed The City Cat Crew. Brown says it's Delaware's most concentrated and comprehensive TNR program.

Estimates are there are 600 feral cats in Harrington.The City Cat Crew has  TNR'd almost 400 in five separate trapping sessions.

Tartt says people have already noticed positive results like fewer kittens around. Tieman points to other improvements.

"We were getting complaints about feral cats, one or two a month," she said. "We've had one or two this year."

Brown says if TNR is done correctly it requires less and less work each year as an area's feral cat population drops. That's exactly what Tartt is hoping to see long-term.

"I envision the stray and feral cat population in Harrington being around the 200 mark."

Groups like PETA oppose TNR as a way to deal with feral cat populations. They say feral cats often suffer out in the world. Supporters say TNR is far more humane than trapping and euthanizing.

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