Trap-neuter-return program could be alternative to gas chamber

One local group is pushing a way to help cope with the feral cat population in Jefferson City without the use of euthanasia, including gas chambers.

At the Jefferson City Council meeting Monday, Jennifer Tergin spoke about her group, Wild Thing, which uses a trap-neuter-return method to help cut down the feral cat population in the area.

Tergin said live traps are set and the cats are then spayed or neutered, as well as vaccinated against rabies, before being released in the area they were caught in. Tergin said it’s her preferred method instead of the euthanasia options, which often had been the gas chamber for feral animals.

“Nobody likes to see an animal destroyed just for being,” Tergin said.

She said Wild Thing began in January 2010 and has fixed 415 cats since starting. She said the organization largely depends on donations and suggested the city pursue either a partnership with a group like Wild Thing or run it’s own trap-neuter-release program through animal control.

“It could be something the city does itself,” Tergin said.

Tergin said the method has the problem take care of itself; with so many cats fixed, feral cats will be unable to breed and eventually die out. She said the life span of a feral cat generally is about two to five years.

She said the group partners with two local veterinarians who provide the services at $50 per cat.

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