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Times Union: Operation Snip gets grant help

Operation Snip gets grant help
Troy program that aims to control the city’s feral cats receives $5,000

By Kenneth C. Crowe II
Times Union,  Aug. 5, 2012

TROY — A new $5,000 grant will help Operation Snip continue its mission of reducing the city’s feral cat population.

“We did more than 150 cats and we’re still going,” said Lynn Kopka, the City Council president and organizer of Operation Snip.

Originally planned as an April blitz to scoop up feral cats under the Troy Trap-Neuter-Return Program, the effort has received a boost from the New York City organization Neighborhood Cats.

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Feral CAT Results Are In!

Feral CAT Results Are In!
Four groups to receive support through TNR mentorship program

Neighborhood Cats
July 21, 2012

Feral CAT (Community Assistance & Training) is a Neighborhood Cats program designed to assist organizations as they establish and grow Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs in their own communities. By offering expert guidance and targeted funding Feral CAT helps these efforts move forward so groups, from start-ups to those with more established programs, make best use of available resources and positively engage volunteers, partner agencies and municipalities so that more cats can be helped.

In 2012 four organizations will receive mentoring through Feral CAT. After a review of many impressive applicants, Neighborhood Cats is pleased to announce these groups have been selected for participation this year:

Community Cat Coalition of Clark County (C5) (Las Vegas, NV) C5 was established in 2009 and currently TNRs an average of 350 feral and stray cats each month. Its target area of Clark County, with a human population of over two million, is among the hardest-hit regions for foreclosures in the nation. As a result, C5 must contend with unusually high numbers of abandoned pets, many intact and having a significant impact on the local feral population.

Friends of Washington Park (Troy, NY) POUNCE, this group’s first Trap-Neuter-Return program, focuses on colonies in historic Washington Park. POUNCE served as the model for Operation Snip, a new citywide TNR effort. The original program began operations in 2002; Operation Snip was implemented in April 2012. Both are managed by the Friends of Washington Park, Inc.

Geauga Humane Society (Russell Township, OH) The Society serves two counties in a largely rural setting, a demographic that includes affluent and underserved communities and totals approximately 325,000 residents. Current TNR projects include GHS’s in-house Catsmart TNR Program and collaborations with PetFix Northeast Ohio and Fix It in the Farmland s/n clinics.

Steelton Borough Community Cats (Steelton, PA) Founded in 1998, the group has built strong partnerships with agencies like the Steelton Fire Department, Dauphin County Probation and Parole and others to support its A Plan for Every Cat initiative. The program works with underserved caretakers throughout Dauphin County, estimated human population 268,100. Steelton Borough Community Cats is a project of the Steelton Community Development Foundation.

In the months to come these groups will each receive a detailed assessment of their respective communities, creation of a strategic plan designed to spread the practice of TNR throughout those communities, targeted funding (average $5,000) to further key elements of the strategic plan and ongoing mentoring.

Neighborhood Cats thanks the trustees of The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation for their generous grant of $20,000 in support of Feral CAT. The Foundation’s mission is to protect and improve the welfare of animals.

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The Record: Snip a success

Pulse of the People: Snip a success

Opinion by Lynn Kopka
The Record, July 11, 2012

Snap! Snap! Snap! Thirty-two traps snapped shut on the first round of feral cats to enroll in Operation Snip, a city-wide TNR (trap, neuter, return) program. Teams of volunteers, outfitted with custom bags holding Snip supplies, covered 9 locations throughout Troy on day one of the program.

Mohawk Hudson Humane Society staff was ready as the first group of 32 cats arrived at 8 a.m. on April 3. Dr. Madaio, the vet at MHHS, and Dr. Sikule, on loan from the SCRUFF program, stood ready with scalpels in hand. An efficient intake system had been developed by Snip and MHHS so each cat was accounted for, its trapping site and team clearly marked.

More traps were set the following day, and more ferals arrived at MHHS in Menands for spay/neuter, vaccinations and ear tipping. We trapped for three weeks in April, netting more than 100 cats. The graduates of Snip’s TNR program returned to their place of origin (a.k.a. home) in a healthier state.

Operation Snip placed traps from Stow Avenue in South Troy to 124th Street in Lansingburgh. All sites were identified by residents who were concerned about the proliferation of feral cats in their neighborhoods. Ferals were living in various locations — a rail car at Interstate Commodities, an abandoned building on Third Avenue, under a porch on Eighth Avenue. Some were in established colonies where neighbors regularly feed and shelter the cats; others were in more dire condition, foraging as needed.

Teams of experienced trappers from as far as Clifton Park and Mechanicville worked with Troy residents to identify the best places to set traps. Neighbors worked together to take care of entire blocks. The experienced teams monitored traps and transported cats to and from MHHS.

We adjusted the program in response to the needs of neighborhoods. Originally planned for six days in April with a goal of 150 cats, Operation Snip adapted to the needs of individual feral cat colonies. Several nursing mother cats and their kittens were trapped later in the spring; the moms were spayed and returned, the kittens were placed in foster care for eventual adoption. Other locations were identified as word of the trapping spread. These locations were wait-listed and teams began work as spay/neuter appointments were scheduled at MHHS and SCRUFF in May, June and July.

Operation Snip is beginning to address the feral cat problem. The ear-tipped feral cats can now be tracked and the population monitored more closely by residents living near the Snip cats. A volunteer designed and built a “cat condo” for feral cat colonies. The first one, installed on Sausse Avenue, is quite a success. The three units are full! Warm in the winter, cool in the summer with fresh linen weekly.

Operation Snip is the first city-wide, privately funded and run TNR program in Troy. We developed strong links among the various animal care groups, with a great network for lending humane traps. Many thanks to the anonymous donor who supported the successful program. Many thanks to the Troy residents who identified the hot spots and worked to trap and spay/neuter the ferals.

Snip could not have occurred without the support of our partners and the dedication of volunteers and neighbors:

  • Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
  • Rensselaer County Humane Society
  • Pondview Country Kennel
  • The Animal Support Project
  • Noah’s Kingdom Humane Society
  • Kitten Angels
  • HOPE
  • Friends of Dyken Pond
  • Pfeil Hardware
  • Country True Value Hardware
  • City of Troy Animal Control Officer Kevin McDonough
  • Troy Police Benevolent Association
  • Pet Care Community Volunteers
  • Collar Sitting
  • Town of Colonie
  • Bates-Miyamoto Design
  • Duncan Crary Communications
  • Network of volunteers who are tending colonies and practicing TNR

We look forward to continuing Snip as time, energy, vet appointments and funds permit.

Lynn Kopka
City Council president
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