MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) - The city of Maumelle has become a leader in Arkansas in humane and progressive ways of dealing with feral cats. A colony of feral cats live in an abandoned trailer park in the Maumelle area, and a new, innovative program is saving their lives.
"We feel this is a humane way to solve a problem," said Johnny Angell, a volunteer with Feline Rescue and Rehome, better known as FuRR. "For a long time we've known that if you go in and trap a bunch of cats from a feral colony and euthanize them, other cats fill it in."
Instead of euthanasia, the group uses the T.N.R. Method, short for Trap-Neuter-Return. The plan being to trap the cats, sterilize them, vaccinate them, then return them to their colony.
"The idea is," said Angell, "you keep a healthy colony of cats that's going to gradually, because they're not reproducing, dwindle away."
On Sunday volunteers caught 18 cats in 21 traps.
"We went out there, we placed our traps, and in about 2.5 hours, we had filled up the surgical allotments we had for the spay and neuter," added Angell. "These cats, because they are sterilized, they will not fight as much, they will not roam as much, they are less likely to contract disease, and they will live better lives. It may not be the perfect life of a pet, but they are going to live better, happier, longer lives."
Part of the reason this program has gotten so much attention is because it's the first time a municipality in Arkansas has officially adopted the trap-neuter-return method. Experts said other cities like Little Rock, Jacksonville and Fayetteville have taken notice and are looking into adopting T.N.R. programs of their own.
The Maumelle program has also drawn the attention of other communities because the collaboration between the three volunteer groups involved has allowed them to share in the cost of the sterilizations and vaccinations, thus significantly cutting animal control costs for the city.