Officials and Feral Advocates Rally for Randolph
The City Council of Randolph along with Mayor Vance Trively sign Resolution Regarding Free Roaming Feral and Stray Cats!
to access the Randolph Resolution!
By Denise LeBeau, Best Friends Staff
The tiny town of Randolph, Iowa found itself in the eye of the maelstrom after it was reported that there was a $5 bounty per cat on their free range heads! Mayor Trively really has nothing against cats, it was just that the town had few alternatives - no local animal control, no private shelter within its town limits, no veterinarian - so no low cost spay/neuter options! What"s a town to do?
The media got headwind of this albeit misguided, but totally blown out of proportion, shortsighted plan. Alley Cat Allies was first on the scene pulling for trap-neuter-return (TNR) in Randolph, and helped galvanize the surrounding animal organizations to help in whatever ways possible. Many local organizations quickly stepped up to the plate offering their assistance: Hearts United for Animals, Feline Friendz, Animal Protection and Education, and Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary and Rescue were among the first organizations to lend a helping hand!
Best Friends Animal Society sent out Shelly Kotter, Feral Cat Program manager to see if anyone from Randolph would be willing to negotiate a better program than trap and ???
At first she was a bit concerned about what she might have encountered! Cats with bounties, dirt roads outweigh paved ones 10-to-1, not a lot of signage - we"ve all seen this movie - Shelly, don"t get out of the car! But this movie thankfully is more Disney than Stephen King!
"It"s a beautiful town with nice people, the type of town where people wave when they see you and talk to you when you pass by. Mayor Vance is a charming, nice man who wants to do what is right and just needed to be pointed in the right direction. Once we got on the same page, everything just fell into place. The Mayor is being proactive and is even going out looking for sites to relocate some of the cats," Shelly reported back on her first day in Iowa.
Mayor Trively has become so proactive, he and his City Council signed a Resolution Regarding Free Roaming Feral and Stray Cats that outlines a strategic plan with a timeline on how to take the necessary and humane steps needed to fix their homeless cat problem!
"Some of the trouble-making cats that are living on the main road will be relocated to a new hog farm outside of town, that"s about 25 of them, but that"s just the beginning," Shelly continued.
"There"s been a steady stream of ranchers lining up to say they too want to take some of the cats. Cats are the best form of pest control out here, and every 100 yards there"s a grain silo, so you can see where the need to keep rodents at bay is very real. I was even talking to one rancher who explained how well-fed, healthy cats make the best mousers!"
"We"ve also been talking to the public to find out how many cats they own and how many outside cats are living on their property. We"ve got 2 veterinarians donating their time on the weekends, Heart United for Animals have offered to fix an additional 60 cats and the Animal Protection and Education is Iowa"s premier feral cat fixing operation - they"re going to come in with a MASH unit! So everyone"s really coming together to make sure that the over population of cats in Randolph is addressed."
"This situation was certainly a town in crisis, overrun with unfixed cats, but now all the citizens are going to be helped because of the surrounding animal welfare community stepping up and making a difference. The cats will be given shots, microchips and of course spayed and neutered!"
The Resolution highlights the entire endeavor: spay/neuter, vaccinations, testing visibly sick cats and relocating them to foster care, microchipping owned cats, relocating friendly strays to shelters & rescues to be adopted, establishing free-roaming managed colonies for ferals, provide support for ongoing cat care to the colonies, and implementing a workshop on how to set up and manage a Trap-Neuter-Return program!
"The problem was very real, there were cats everywhere with no place to go. The municipality didn"t know where to turn. Then the media got hold of the story, and the Mayor was publicly demonized," said Joe Pundzak of Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary and Rescue.
"When Shelly and I met the Mayor, he said "You people
.", he had lumped us all together. He thought we were responsible for ruining his name and reputation! But after 3 hours together we were the best of friends! We listened to what he had to say, what were the issues here in Randolph and we offered to help with spay/neuter and microchipping. He realized we were there to help solve a problem, we could all work together to help him and the community!"
"Finally the Mayor said "Trapping and neutering is fine. I don"t want to kill cats!"" Joe conveyed.
Elizabeth Hamn of Feline Friendz in Nebraska couldn"t believe her ears! "I had seen on the local News station a humorous bit on cats with a bounty!"
"After Shelly came in and talked to the Mayor and the locals, we are having a great outcome. She was so upbeat and positive, if it had been anyone else, I don"t think we would have had this amazing turn around," Elizabeth continued. "She was able to see what needed to be done and get it taken care of in 48 hours!"
"Sherry Haftings (founder of Feline Friendz) is one of the most caring people I have ever known - she sees how important TNR is to lowering euthanasia rates and reducing strays and feral cats in the streets. We knew we"d help Randolph however we could! We"re building feeding stations and shelters and set to deliver the first batch tomorrow. Monday is the first day for their spay neuter procedures!"
"There"s no veterinarian in that town!" said Jenny Gerritse from Hearts United for Animals, "the closest one is in Sidney!"
"You"ve got to look at the proximity of the animals and the economic factors, the people just didn"t know there were any low cost spay/neuter options in their area," Jenny went on to explain further how the conditions of Randolph had been the perfect breeding ground for cats gone wild!
"But now here we all are - sitting at the table, talking about how we can help Randolph! It"s so cool to see all the rescue groups coming together, we"re all doing as much as we can to help!"
How You Can Help
Thank the Mayor! He received hundreds of angry, threatening letters! Let"s turn that tide!
Send a nice card to:
Mayor Vance Trively
107 S. Main Street
Randolph, Iowa 51649
Thank the Veterinarians that are helping the town!
Send a nice Thank You note to:
Fremont County Vet Clinic
Dr. Laumann & Dr. Jamerson
2838 200th Street
Sidney, Iowa 51652
Support the Local Organizations!
Animal Protection and Education
Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary and Rescue
Join the Best Friends Feral Cat Community on the Network!
Support the Best Friends Network Rescue Fund, please put "Randolph Cats" in the comments box.
Feral Cat Resources.
Images courtesy of Shelly Kotter, Best Friends Feral Cat Program