County Council to vote on resolution approving $25K FOTAS grant for Aiken County Animal Shelter


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – The Aiken County Animal Shelter could be expanding its staff, facility and animal population control programs.

On Tuesday, County Council is set to vote on a resolution passing a $25,000 dollar grant from F.O.T.A.S., Friends of the Animal Shelter.

This is one of the ways the county is being more aggressive about lowering the shelter intake.

In February 2016 Aiken County leaders passed a trap-neuter-release program.

A year later T.N.R. has already reduced the number of euthanized cats and decreased the homeless cat population in Aiken County.

Michelle Donlick runs the Avalo Cat Santuary in Wagener, S.C.

She has more than 130 cats, including domesticated cats, hybrid cats, exotic cats.

While she may find it hard to turn away a homeless cat, she’s says its easy to make sure they aren’t adding to the population.

“Well they are all spayed and neutered” Donlick told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “My best friend, and also one of my horse clients, is my vet so regardless of her being involved I would all have them spayed and neutered, because there’s too many. Well cats obviously over-populate very easily.”

A single pair of cats can produce 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

Donlick says controlling the explosive cat population in Aiken comes down to regulations.

“I guess it also depends on if you’re a real cat lover as to whether you think T.N.R. is important,” Donlick told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “I think a lot of people don’t like it because obviously nobody wants 50 cats running around in their area. But if it’s under control and you start doing it by spay and neutering you’re on the right path to actually decreasing the population.”

As part of Aiken’s Trap-Neuter-Release program the feral cats are also vaccinated.

A spokesperson for the group “Friends of the Animal Shelter” says when feral cats are fixed they also lose many of their negative behaviors.

Some T.N.R. advocates say that while it’s costly to keep the feral cats population low, it’s not fair to euthanize them either.

“Humans are the ones really screwing up here,” said animal advocate Mary Coffey. “Spay and neutering of all cats and all dogs is a necessity at this point because over breeding is out of control.”

The resolution to approve the grant will go before county council on Tuesday.

With the $25,000 dollars the shelter hopes to fix 555 feral cats and give them all rabies shots.

A second F.O.T.A.S. grant was awarded to hire a part-time vet and build an isolation pod.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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