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
  • SCRUFF
  • 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
Troy
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