A mother cat and her kittens were assisted by the Logan County TNR Project. Group members report the mother cat is now living on a farm and the kittens were all adopted. (Logan County TNR PHOTO)
BY LINDA YOEST
The Logan County TNR Project, a local all-volunteer group that traps feral cats, takes them to be spayed and neutered, and returns them, is making plans to TNR cats at Indian Lake.
The group is asking for donations for a project they have named, “Operation: Fix the Ferals at Lakeside,” which will focus an area on the west side of State Route 235 from U.S. Route 33 north to Duff Road* and is expected to start next month.
The estimated number of cats needing TNR’d there is in the hundreds; the cost will be in the thousands, representatives said. How long will the process take?
“That depends upon having the funds, getting the clinic appointments, and training volunteers to help— but the process won’t be quick,” the non-profit organization members said in a release.
“Current TNR activities in other locations will continue, however, no new locations are being added at this time.”
Donations to “Operation:Fix the Ferals at Lakeside” can be made online via PayPal to logancountytnrproject, or checks can be mailed to: P.O. Box 102, Huntsville, OH 43324. A donation link also is available on the organization’s website, https://logancountytnr.wixsite.com/logancountytnr by clicking on the “fundraiser” tab.
The Logan County TNR group came together because of the passion of one person, Heather Hillery, who trapped and transported cats to and from low-cost clinics to be spayed and neutered, often at her own expense.
She initiated the practice because every year there were too many free-roaming cats producing countless more free-roaming cats.
In 2016, Hillery heard Bellefontaine City Council was considering a feeding ban on feral cats. She knew that feeding bans don’t work and she was successful in persuading the council to allow her to TNR the cats on city-owned property, a location that led to the proposed feeding ban.
Hillery also gave her mission the name — Logan County TNR Project.
She was joined by Roni Lile, and soon by a few other women. Hillery had a vision to create a 501(c)3 non-profit, an accomplishment that required forming a corporation, creating a Board of Directors and registering with the Ohio Secretary of State; as well as registering as a charitable organization with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, obtaining an EIN (Employee Identification Number) from the IRS, and finally filing an application requesting 501(c)3 status with the IRS.
In January of 2017, Logan County TRN Project received its 501(c)3 determination letter.
Before, during and after all of that paperwork was completed, this small group of volunteers stayed busy trapping, transporting, returning and fundraising to pay for the spays, neuters and state-required rabies vaccines.
Since 2016, they have sterilized over 2,500 cats.
“Logan County TNR Project has made a difference in our county, having worked with multiple colonies until every cat was spayed or neutered,” representatives said.
“Unfortunately, while there is still an endless supply of cats that need fixed, there is a limited supply of the two most important things needed to fix them. Money and helpers.”
The average cost of spay and neuter surgery is $65 at low-cost clinics outside Logan County, which has no such clinics. Added to that is the cost of gas to transport cats to and from clinics, which means dropping them off in the morning and returning for them in the afternoon.
The cost of spay/neuter is actually anywhere from $25 to $125 per cat, depending upon the clinic; and getting clinic appointments can be weeks out.
The TNR group has regular donors, but not enough to pay for more than a few cats a month. Fundraisers and raffles help in generating funds; and earlier this year they were awarded the interest from a trust fund which brings about $1,500 a quarter, which will fix about six cats a month.
There are also operational expenses such as live-traps, safety equipment, sanitation supplies, food for baiting traps and while cats are held before and after surgery. Or, when they end up with kittens that cannot be left in the wild to fend for themselves — but that’s a different story, that’s rescue. Although this group is strictly TNR, they do coordinate with the people who foster the cats and kittens needing rescued.
As for other ways people can help, they also need volunteers willing to be trained to trap and transport street cats. It’s not as simple as baiting a live-trap and waiting to catch a cat. It may sound easy, but it can be dangerous, members noted.
“A terrified cat can inflict serious damage to human flesh, and some of the group have the scars to prove it.”
The group also maintains a Facebook page “Logan County TNR Project,” which will include updates about monthly meetings, set to resume in January.
To contact Logan County TNR, utilize the contact form on their website, or send an email to logancountytnrproject.
*For reasons of safety for the cats and the trappers, specific trapping locations are no longer publicized. Not everyone agrees with TNR.
The Logan County TNR Project assisted these two cats in their trap, neuter and release program. (Logan County TNR PHOTO)