New Port Richey residents who are tired of hearing the mewing of feral cats in their neighborhoods at night can no longer round them up for a drop off at Pasco County Animal Services.
As part of its Save 90% program, the county has decided to change the way it handles intakes. That program charges the county with saving 90 percent of the animals brought into its Land O’ Lakes shelter.
Feral cats and strays, however, can make that goal difficult to obtain. That’s why the county has put the brakes on its old policy of accepting cats carte blanche. It’s also decided it will no longer accept cats – and dogs – that owners want to have euthanized.
The county will, however, still accept owner-surrender cats, but only on a few specific days of the week, said Judy T. Gregory, spokeswoman for the agency.
Why the policy change?
“We don’t have a leash law in Pasco (for cats),” Gregory said. “Cats are allowed to roam free.”
Spay Pasco Provides an Alternative
While Pasco won’t take in feral or stray cats, Gregory said residents still have options. One of them comes through the county-supported Spay Pasco program. That is a trap, neuter and release program, or TNR program for short.
Through Spay Pasco residents can trap feral cats in their neighborhoods and take them in for sterilization surgery. Following surgery, residents can pick the cats back up and return them to the wild. The cost for the surgery is $10 per cat and traps are available through Spay Pasco if a $50 deposit is provided.
Spay Pasco operates using a network of local veterinarians to perform the surgery. Participating vet offices are found in locations throughout the county.
For more details about Spay Pasco, visit its website.
The county is also considering launching an expanded TNR program, but details aren’t ready for release yet, Gregory said.
When Can Owners Drop Off Pets?
Under the new rules, animal services only accepts owner release animals two days a week. The days and hours are:
- Tuesdays from noon to 4:30 p.m.
- Thursdays from noon to 6:30 p.m.
For more information about animal services, visit the agency online.
What do you think about the county’s decision to turn away feral cats? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
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