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Halifax regional council to consider annual cash for feral cats

A feral cat.
A feral cat.

Halifax regional council will decide this week whether to spend $250,000 over the next five years to try to slow the growth of the municipality’s feral cat population.

In a report before council at its Tuesday meeting, municipal staff recommends council create an administrative order to provide annual funding of $50,000 to charities for spay and neuter programs.

Council approved one time funding of $50,000 last year, which helped people like Sonya Higgins of Healing Animal SCARS get more cats spayed and neutered.

“In the past I would have to fundraise to get each cat done, and it took some time to achieve the funds. I would be able to do three cats at a time, so maximum three cats a week,” Higgins said in an interview. “Now, if I’m working with other groups, we can trap 15 or 20 cats and have them done each week, and I won’t have to worry about the fundraising myself for the spay and neuter program.”

Higgins said last year’s funding showed that groups like hers are good at working together with the Nova Scotia SPCA, which does the spaying and neutering, to slow the breeding of feral cats in the municipality.

“The numbers spiral out of hand very quickly, so for us to go in and stop the growth in any given colony is quite a success,” she said.

“Not a lot of people are aware of what happens with the feral cat population, unless you’re one of the ones that has half a dozen cats under a shed or in some other part of your yard,” Coun. Steve Adams said in an interview.

“But it’s a huge issue, and the people involved in helping to curb this are very dedicated and they’re well aware of how important it is.”

Adams made the request for a staff report on the issue, and said he thinks at least the veteran councillors will be on board.

“It’ll be my job to convince the newly elected councillors of the importance and the significance of this because I dare say that every district has a cat population issue, some more than others, but it affects us all,” he said.

In a report before council at its Tuesday meeting, municipal staff recommends council create an administrative order to provide annual funding of $50,000 to charities for spay and neuter programs.

Council approved one time funding of $50,000 last year, which helped people like Sonya Higgins of Healing Animal SCARS get more cats spayed and neutered.

“In the past I would have to fundraise to get each cat done, and it took some time to achieve the funds. I would be able to do three cats at a time, so maximum three cats a week,” Higgins said in an interview. “Now, if I’m working with other groups, we can trap 15 or 20 cats and have them done each week, and I won’t have to worry about the fundraising myself for the spay and neuter program.”

Higgins said last year’s funding showed that groups like hers are good at working together with the Nova Scotia SPCA, which does the spaying and neutering, to slow the breeding of feral cats in the municipality.

“The numbers spiral out of hand very quickly, so for us to go in and stop the growth in any given colony is quite a success,” she said.

“Not a lot of people are aware of what happens with the feral cat population, unless you’re one of the ones that has half a dozen cats under a shed or in some other part of your yard,” Coun. Steve Adams said in an interview.

“But it’s a huge issue, and the people involved in helping to curb this are very dedicated and they’re well aware of how important it is.”

Adams made the request for a staff report on the issue, and said he thinks at least the veteran councillors will be on board.

“It’ll be my job to convince the newly elected councillors of the importance and the significance of this because I dare say that every district has a cat population issue, some more than others, but it affects us all,” he said.

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