Columbus adopts partnership with PetSmart Charities, Best Friends Animal Society

(Photo credit: MGN Online)
(Photo credit: MGN Online)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In a move to help save more community cats, Best Friends Animal Society and PetSmart Charities are partnering with Columbus Animal Care & Control Center (ACCC) along with other animal welfare organizations to bring a life-saving Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project to Columbus.

The goal of the project is for Best Friends and Animal Care & Control to trap 6,000 free-roaming community cats over three years, spay/neuter and vaccinate them, and return them to their outdoor homes.

"Community cats exist because people abandon pets, many of which are not spayed or neutered and if not managed, colonies can grow exponentially," said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "This program will manage colony growth, prevent the spread of disease, and reduce ACCC euthanasia rate in the first year."

Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian who spays/ neuters, vaccinates and tips one ear as a visual signal that the cat has been sterilized. The cats are then returned to their outdoor home. Sterilizing reduces common nuisances such as roaming, howling, fighting and spraying and prevents litters of new kittens.

Best Friends and PetSmart Charities will invest approximately $600,000 that will cover one full-time staff member to run the program, a transport van, spay/neuter surgeries and other vet costs, TNR program supplies, marketing support and staff training.

The partner groups will work with several other local animal welfare organizations in an innovative, public-private partnership that is modeled after similar successful programs in other U.S. communities.

A Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, will be held to share the benefits and success stories from similar programs across the country. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Columbus (5351 Sidney Simons Blvd). The meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the program, have questions answered, and learn how to get involved.

Columbus Animal Care & Control was one of just 3 shelters chosen this year by Best Friends and its partner PetSmart Charities.

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