April 3rd, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 14
Crowsnest Cat Issue
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Council is moving forward with the steps to reduce the number of feral cats in the Crowsnest Pass.

Over the last number of years, there have been many concerns about the issue with the cats.

The issues with these cays range from mild annoyances for citizens to health and hygiene concerns.

After researching different options on how to find a solution to the problem, the decision was made to use the Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) program with the help of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS).

This program will allow the number of cats to decrease over time.
During the process, any cats with medical issues will either be euthanized or rehabilitated and placed back.

The reason for having a program that deals with this problem slowly rather than just getting rid of all the cats quickly, is that other cats may move into the area and you will have the same problem arise with more cats again.

The main idea behind this process is that after the cats are returned, there will be a designated feeding area that the cats will start to become accustomed with and will only go to that area in time instead of continuing to disturb local residents.
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Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services, Jesse Fox, says that this problem has been on the radar for a while and that council is taking steps to solve it.

“As a part of the 2019 year, council has put forward a new initiative to help manage and control the cat population. It's one that not all that many municipalities have done in the past but the ones that have done have had many successes with it.”

Fox says that AARCS has partnered with a local rescue organization to help the process along.

“We've reached out to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) from Calgary. They are partnering with a local rescue organization.”

Council is putting $10,000 into the program this year to begin the process of eliminating the problem.

Fox re-iterated the fact that these cats won’t disappear overnight.

“The purpose of this is not to collect all of the cats and make them go away and disappear forever. That's proven that it does not work and will not work in our situation. It is a long-term play and it's designed to take feral cats that are identified and have them cared for. They'll be spayed, neutered and make sure that they're disease free and then will be returned back to the local areas that they came from in our communities. At that point, the design is over time the new kittens will completely decrease.”
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Fox says the process has begun recently and will continue in the future.
“The work has been in progress over the last few weeks. What we're at right now is that we'll be doing a short window advertising campaign to let the public know what's happening. Once that window concludes, they will come down and start the physical work. So the public may see some activity.”

Fox also says residents who own a cat should be cautious once the feral cats are starting to be trapped.

“If residents have a cat that they perhaps let outside, we want them to know to keep their cats indoors at those times to reduce the likelihood that their cats will be collected. Obviously we don't want to do that.”

Fox says the most important thing for the public to be aware of is that they probably won’t see immediate results but that the program has been very successful and that it is a very progressive initiative with trying to manage this situation.

AARCS will begin coming in and trapping cats sometime within the next few months.
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April 3rd, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 14
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