JOHNSON COUNTY, INDIANA. – They’re saving cats’ lives and they’re doing it one trap at a time in one Indiana county, and officials are seeing a staggering drop in the number of cats being put down.
Four years ago at the Johnson County Animal Shelter, a total of 466 cats were euthanized in 1 year.
This past year, that elevated number dropped to 80.
That’s an 83-percent drop, and it’s all thanks to what’s called the “trap-neuter-release” aka TNR program the county adopted into law just 3 years ago.
The Johnson County Humane Society runs the program in partnership and on conjunction with the county’s animal control department.
Before being released back outside, those strays are then spayed or neutered and their ears are “tipped” as a way to identify them as being sterile.
Employees with the humane society did this to a total of 511 cats last year, and they say each and every cat counts.
“Before the system, any cat that was brought in was scanned for a microchip and (then) was euthanized, automatically,” Humane Society spokeswoman Janet Gorrell said.
Through this program, feral cat colonies should eventually disappear or at least fade down to bare minimums, as the cats that are trapped are unable to reproduce.
The program is not just about saving cats’ lives. It also happens to be saving a lot of money.
“Taxpayers are saving tens of thousands of dollars a year,” Director of Johnson County Animal Control Michael Delp said.
It costs over $60 to euthanize a cat. Just last year alone, the county spent $23,000 less compared to the year before on the costs of euthanasia.
in addition, the shelter is seeing a lower rate of employee turnover. Delp believes it’s because employees are being asked less and less to put down animals, so their jobs are much more enjoyable.
Programs like this are also up and running in Marion and Hamilton counties.
Shelby County is also expected to have a TNR program running soon, too.