Cat problem continues in Tyrone

This cat was spotted laying in the sunshine along Blair Ave. today. It could be a stray or a pet, but either way, if it is not spayed/neutered, it is contributing to the feral cat problem in Tyrone.

At this month’s Tyrone Borough Council meeting, Tyrone resident Bridgette Gill, provided an update regarding the continuing stray and feral cat issues in Tyrone, and offered suggestions to combat the problem.

Gill is not a part of the Tyrone Community Cat Advocates group, rather works on her own with a group from her neighborhood to trap, neuter and release as many feral cats as they can.

Gill said that members of the TCCA had been on vacation throughout the summer, and so she was contacted a bit more often, with local residents asking for help to get the felines under control. Stray cats have been causing a nuisance for residents for quite some time, spraying and defecating in yards, flower beds and play areas.

Gill said that summer is the busiest time of the year, as it is kitten season. She recently found a 35-40 cat colony in one neighborhood, with about 15 adults, many pregnant females, and the rest all kittens, born this year. “This is just one colony,” Gill said.

Gill said that her main goal is to trap, neuter and release, as she doesn’t have the space or resources to keep or to foster many.

She presented an idea to council for a photography fundraiser at Reservoir Park, in exchange for vouchers to bring the cost of spaying/neutering down at a low cost clinic. However, she has since found that no additional vouchers are available at that clinic, so the fundraiser idea is on hold, for now. Until another option surfaces, she will be strictly using the Humane Society’s TNR clinic, which is funded through donations, so no money is needed.

Mayor Bill Latchford and council members appreciated Gill’s efforts upon her report at the council meeting. Latchford said, “It looks like a positive direction for the cat population problem we are currently having.”

Council member David Snyder added, “It is refreshing to me, personally, to hear the approach you have taken to come and receive advice from us, if we had any.”

In an interview yesterday, Gill said, “While [the Humane Society] can’t get a lot in each clinic, it will still be some progress toward the goal.”

Gill’s group, like the TCCA, has definitely been making a difference. “We’ve been able to organize and join together and get 32 cats fixed in four different clinics since the beginning of August. That includes trapped cats and cats of members of our community that desperately needed help fixing their cats at low cost clinics and transporting the cats for them.”

Some of the cats already had multiple litters and were pregnant again, Gill said, “so we’ve assisted in stopping the cycle.”

Gill shared with The Daily Herald that, in her opinion, the problem isn’t strictly tied to outside cats reproducing; rather it’s also linked to local pet owners getting cats and not having enough resources or transportation available to get them fixed.

Gill said, “Through this entire experience, I’ve found that there are not enough resources for Blair County to help. There is the CPHS, but they are stretched so thin because of the large area they cover. [There is also] Happy Paws Happy Homes where people can purchase low-cost vouchers, but space is limited with that organization.”

Julie White can be reached at jwhite@thedailyherald.net.

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