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New idea for dealing with feral cats

ESCAMBIA COUNTY - Escambia County Commissioners are considering a new way to deal with feral cats.

The commission is set to discuss a policy of neutering the animals and releasing them instead of capturing them, hoping they get adopted,  and then putting them to death if no one adopts them.
Some state authorities have problems with the plan..
County authorities say feral cats are a big problem.
And it's one they'd like to solve without having to rely so much on euthanization.
Last year the Escambia County Animal Shelter put about 1700 dogs to death.
It euthanized more than 4300 cats.
And nearly half the cats the shelter took in were strays.

Sarah Humlie, Executive Dir., Pensacola Humane Society: "It's the best way that we are gonna control the cat population."
Pensacola Humane Society Executive Director Sarah Humlie is all for the policy of trapping feral cats, neutering them and re-releasing them.

"It stabilizes them 'cause you take those cats and cats are territorial, you sterilize 'em, you sterilize them so they can't reproduce. It stops a lot of the nuisance behavior that bothers people. You put 'em back in there, they keep other cats away and then you have non-breeding cats in that population."
That's basically the idea county commissioners are considering.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission and other wildlife authorities and experts nationwide do not like it.

Dr. Paul Barrows, Retired Army Veterinarian: "We see it as a risk to animal health, to public health."
They say the policy threatens the population of birds and other animals and has had terrible results elsewhere.

"Trap, neuter and release has very little to offer in the way of demonstrating elimination of cat colonies through that technique. The data is just not there."

The county commission will discuss the issue and get input from the county attorney on Thursday.