DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The city plans to use $160,000 in grant money to spay and neuter stray cats in an effort to reduce Dayton's large feral feline population.
The plan in the city of about 140,000 residents involves catching the cats, then spaying or neutering them before returning them to the neighborhoods where they were found. The local humane society hopes it will stop some of Dayton's 9,500 free-roaming felines from reproducing as the typical spring breeding season approaches.
Part of the $160,000 foundation grant will pay for fixing 500 cats, according to the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/OaX1Ds ). The city hopes residents will contribute by picking up traps from the humane society offices.
About 120 traps are available, some of which were purchased specifically for managing the stray cat problem in Dayton.
"We can put out the word so people know it's an opportunity," Mayor Nan Whaley said.
Brian Weltge, president and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, said more than 97 percent of free-roaming felines are not spayed or neutered, and many will reproduce, likely beginning in the spring months.
Weltge said stray cat populations usually decline sharply in cities that adopt the trap-neuter-return program.
"We do know after many, many years at the humane society that we can't adopt our way out of the problem in the community, and we can't euthanize our way out of the problem," he said.
There are millions of free-roaming cats across the United States, and most will die prematurely from disease, starvation or trauma, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The cats also kill wildlife, including birds, small mammals and amphibians.