The Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township has room for about200 stray cats.
That space is always full.
And more cats keep coming all the time.
“It’s a never-ending battle,” said Kelly Bauer, the shelter’s executive director.
The best way to curb the feral population is to spay and neuter the cats. But someone has to pay for all those operations.
The nonprofit organization No Nonsense Neuteringcharges $35 per cat. A handful of municipalities in the Lehigh Valley have agreements to pay for a set number of operations per year. Even more municipalities will cover part of that cost, leaving residents to cover a $15 copay for the $35 procedure. No Nonsense helpers will catch cats in a feral colony and bring them in to be neutered and released. Residents can also trap them themselves and bring them in.
The Allentown-based group has asked Easton to pay up front for about 100 cats a year and Palmer Township for about 50 cats.
Without intervention, the population will continue to grow, according to Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering.
“We have volunteers that can help if necessary. We desperately need the municipalities to step up and budget and do the right thing,” Kahan said.
Consider that one female cat has two to three litters of kittens a year, Bauer said. Each litter could have one to eight kittens.
Over the course of seven years, that one cat and her offspring could in theory produce 370,000 new cats, according toPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Easton Councilman Peter Melan said he supports budgeting $3,500 to cover the cost of spaying or neutering 100 cats in 2018.
“I think it’s a public health emergency we need to deal with,” he said.
He said city officials are trying to figure out how to fit the expense into the budget. The proposal will come up for a vote later.
Palmer Township Supervisors Chairman Dave Colver agreed the program appears worthwhile. He said township officials are considering budgeting for 50 cats. He was told the township has two to three cat colonies that No Nonsense Neutering is already contending with.
No Nonsense has received full funding supportfrom:
Forks Township and Hellertown in Northampton County.
Hanover Township and Upper Macungie Township in Lehigh County.
No Nonsense has received partial funding in some communities. Residents in these communities who bring in a stray to be neutered or spayed need only pay $15 rather than the full $35.
These municipalities are:
Bangor, Northampton, Pen Argyl, Wind Gap; and Lower Mount Bethel, Plainfield, Upper Mount Bethel and Washington townships in Northampton County.
Alburtis, Catasauqua, Coplay, Emmaus; and Heidelberg, Lower Macungie, Lowhill, Lower Milford, Lynn, North Whitehall, South Whitehall, Upper Saucon, Washington, Whitehall and Weisenberg townships in Lehigh County.
No Nonsense has offices in Allentown, Reading, Hatfield and Mahanoy City in Pennsylvania.
Bauer said she’s constantly writing grants to help fund her shelter’s trap, neuter and release program. The Center for Animal Health and Welfare charges $40 for each spay or neuter.
She welcomes any help No Nonsense Neutering can provide and encourages elected leaders to work with the group.
“It’s a huge problem and we have to tackle it,” she said. “It’s truly a team effort.”
Story re-posted from Lehigh Valley Live. Written by Rudy Miller