WOODS CROSS — Davis County Animal Control euthanizes between 6,000 and 7,000 cats annually.
That’s about to change as the department institutes a five year pilot program to trap, sterilize and neuter feral cats and release them.
“For the past 15 years, our officers have used trap and kill methods, but our euthanization levels has remained the same,” said Davis County Animal Control Director Clint Thacker.
Thacker gave a presentation on the program to Woods Cross City Council members last week. The council will vote on whether to approve it for the city in a future council meeting.
He is giving his presentation to city councils in every city in Davis County.
“So far, the reception has been very good. Most of the councils have loved the idea,” Thacker said.
The program is already operating in Sunset, Clearfield, Fruit Heights, Farmington and North Salt Lake, and is being considered by Woods Cross and Layton.
Under the program, animal control officers will trap feral cats and bring them into the shelter, Thacker said. If they’re healthy and have no sign of ownership such as a collar or chip, the cat is sterilized, vaccinated and released back into the area they were found. During the procedure, the tip of the ear is clipped, so officers know the cat has already been sterilized.
Cats who are released are returned to their environment healthier and are not reproducing, Thacker said.
Any cat that is trapped is kept five days. After a feral cat is trapped for the third time, it is kept for five days and then euthanized, Thacker said.
Before developing the program, Thacker checked with other cities and found both Salt Lake City and County have similar programs and “West Valley City is loving their results,” he said. Jacksonville, Fla., has had one of the biggest pushes forits program and it’s working well there as well, he said.
Even though the program is not operating countywide yet, Thacker said he’s already seen a difference in the numbers of feral cats being put down.
“For the first time in quite a while we have empty cages in our feral cat room.”