Lifesaving Grant keeps trap/neuter/return (TNR) program on track

The Humane Society of Moab Valley (HSMV), located in Moab, Utah, has been quite progressive on behalf of the community cats (ferals and strays) of their area. In 2002, they connected with Best Friends' own Holly Sizemore who helped them start a trap trading post, an outlet where humane traps to catch feral cats for trap/neuter/return (TNR) are lent out to community cat caregivers. According to Tricia Gundlach, animal coordinator for HSMV, Holly also supplied them with traps.

Lifesaving Grant awarded to Humane Society of Moab Valley

So it comes as no surprise almost a dozen years later, HSMV has increased their save rate for cats, and in fact, no community cats have been killed in their shelter system since 2003. To help them keep going strong, they were awarded a $5,000 grant through our No More Homeless Pets Network Lifesaving Grants program, in partnership with PetSmart Charities®, to spay or neuter 250 free-roaming community cats.

"The Humane Society of Moab Valley will make excellent use of this grant to support their TNR efforts," enthuses Tracy Kelley, senior coalition manager. "They are an integral member of the Moab community, offering essential animal welfare services, such as training and education, adoptions, rescue and fostering, and low-cost spay and neuter, and beyond."

Targeting feline issues with TLC

Thomas the cat who was neuterd by the Humane Society of Moab Valley While Moab is an amazing place for community cats, there is an ongoing issue that adds to the number of homeless cats - transient human residents. "Many of the colonies we manage are at trailer parks," says Tricia. "We recently helped with over 30 cats who had to be relocated when the park was going to be demolished. We took in six of the friendly cats to adopt out, and the others went to our other colonies. Each cat is important to us."

Each cat is important - just ask Thomas. Thomas had been living with the doomed feral colony. He was so friendly when the HSMV's volunteers were there to move everyone that he jumped into their vehicle. They saw he had a collar and a tag. HSMV called the number, but it was disconnected. By using local and social media, HSMV located his former guardian and the two were reunited.

HSMV is currently addressing an issue at a trailer park with at least 300 cats. The grant will help them get the cats fixed quickly.

Further community cat support

In addition to working closely with their local animal control and supporting the local community cat caregivers by helping with TNR, HSMV also supplies caregivers with cat food. One of the biggest challenges the organization is facing is a decline in funding for their outreach food program.

"Maintaining the stability of our community cat colonies is very important to our program," shares Tricia. "We have 16 wildlife-proof feral feeders, and we need to be a reliable source of food for the cats. This is key to the health of our colonies, and the healthier the cats, the better it is for the whole community."

Margaret Griffith, a Humane Society of Moab Valley volunteer, received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Utah Animal Control AssociationVolunteer of the year

One of the reasons their TNR program has run so smoothly is their volunteer Margaret Griffith. She has been at the helm for over a decade and even received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011 from the Utah Animal Control Association for her work on the Trap, Neuter and Release Program for Feral Cats.

Here she shares what keeps her motivated: "You would think that what I would find fulfilling is seeing all of my stray cats running to come greet the 'food wagon' when in fact what I find most fulfilling is the lack of feral cats. Their numbers have dwindled thanks to adoptions and attrition, plus their numbers haven't increased because of our great TNR program."

Get information on how to help community cats.

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Best Friends Animal Society believes strongly that collaboration with shelters and other animal welfare organizations is key to achieving No More Homeless Pets®. When we work together, we save more lives. The No More Homeless Pets Network is a Best Friends program which brings together high quality 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal welfare groups and municipal shelters from all across the nation, so that together, we can work smarter and more effectively, and end the tragedy of pets dying in our nation's animal shelters.

Photos courtesy of the Humane Society of Moab Valley