Pet overpopulation is a very real concern in Florida, with many community cats living and breeding in neighborhoods across the state. There are also many homeless cats and dogs that are brought to animal shelters to await adoptive families. Most of these cats and dogs are not spayed or neutered, and this further contributes to the growing pet population in Florida. The fix, though, is easy. Read on to find out what you can do to help fix pet overpopulation in Florida with the help of Florida Animal Friend.
Trap-neuter-release programs are two-fold. They help to educate the public about lost or homeless community cats, and they help to get these homeless cats fixed so they don’t contribute to overpopulation. In turn, this helps the cats live longer, healthier lives.
Only feral cats are eligible for trap-neuter-release programs, and many programs require good samaritans to trap the cats on their own and bring them to the shelter or animal organization for spay or neuter surgery. Once the surgery is complete, the feral cat’s ear is clipped, known as ear-tipping, so that it is identifiable as a cat that has already participated in a TNR program.
Vaccinations are often administered at the same time as spay neuter surgeries, helping to protect cats against rabies, FVRCP (feline distemper) and feline leukemia. Many volunteers and organizations are also readily available and willing to assist with trapping cats for TNR programs. With low commitment and almost no training required, more community cats are helped over time.
Local TNR Ordinances
Many city and county ordinances address the TNR program, with the main purpose being to reduce populations of stray cats in order to prevent euthanasia should overpopulation become an issue. These ordinances often indicate an organization responsible for the program, such as government-funded animal services or a local nonprofit, which are also often charged with determining health, safety and potential nuisance impacts, if any, that stray animals may have on local wildlife or communities. The TNR program is one way to help mitigate any potential issues.
Since trap-neuter-release programs include a public education aspect, many organizations work to spread the word about the effectiveness of TNR while encouraging the volunteers to step up. Pet care education also helps educate pet parents on the importance of spaying or neutering their pet as well as what to expect as their pet grows and ages. Programs like these have proven to reduce the number of homeless pets in shelters.
Florida Animal Friend License Plate
Another way to help fix pet overpopulation in Florida is by choosing a specialty license plate that funds spay neuter programs. When renewing or replacing your license plate, choose a Florida Animal Friend specialty license plate. A portion of the proceeds from every spay and neuter license plate, $25 each to be exact, goes to our nonprofit to help fund free and low-cost spay neuter programs and surgeries. These dollars add up, allowing us to provide grants to shelters and other nonprofit animal organizations to help spay and neuter pets all over the state — and only to those that are consistent with local ordinances. Grants of up to $25,000 can be awarded, so if you know of a shelter or other animal organization that deserves a grant, let us know!
How You Can Help
Check with your county or city government to learn about your local ordinance relating to cats. Local humane societies, rescues and spay neuter clinics are great resources to learn how you can help when you encounter a homeless or lost pet. Switching to a spay neuter license plate also directs funding to spay neuter programs and surgeries throughout the state. These programs are important, so help spread the word and look into volunteering at a local animal organization. Our community cats are depending on you.