Horry County uses $50,000 grant to control feral cat problem

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) The Horry County Animal Care Center is moving forward with a  $51,060 grant it was awarded from Petsmart Charities to Trap, Neuter and Return 1,000 feral cats in Conway. The Conway zip code 29526 was chosen because it was identified as the location of where the most intakes of feral cats were brought into the Animal Care Center.

The Horry County Animal Care Center will host four public meetings to educate the public on how the project will work, why it is important and how the community can get involved.

The meeting will be held in the Horry County Government & Justice Center in Multipurpose Room B on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, January 15, at 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 22, at 4 p.m. and at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 31, at 3 p.m.

Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said it's important the community is aware of the problem with feral cats. Bourcier said the landowners that live near this zip code are also imperative to the project.

"With this money we're able to actually purchase traps but we're gonna have to get permission from property owners to put these traps on these colonies that we know are out there, feed these animals in order to lure them to the trap so we can catch them. So we need permission to be on their land," Bourcier said.

The project will aim to lower the number of cats that are brought into the Animal Care Center by controlling reproduction amongst the wild cats.

Shirley Major, manager of Sav R Cats (a local non-kill cat shelter) said it wouldn't help to euthanize all the feral cats because new cats would simply move into the vacant spot.

"The problem is just gonna keep increasing it's not gonna go away. You need to spay or neuter or donate that 55 or 45 dollars to try to help with the problem," Major said.

Along with spay/neutering 1,000 free-roaming cats, the grant will also provide those cats with a rabies vaccine and will be ear-tipped, before they are released. The ear-tipped is universally recognized as a sign that a cat has been neutered.

Major said all of Horry County is affected by the stray cats, but Bourcier said the grant is just a start at getting the situation under control.

"In this case it's the overpopulation of them multiplying without getting a good control over this. Funding is always an issue when it comes to new programs so having this grant put in place really kind of gives us a head start on this program," Bourcier said.

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