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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Westchester volunteers sought to contain stray-cat population

Original publication: November 17, 2006

YONKERS - Frank McSweeney felt bad for the cats and kittens living in a parking lot near his office in Yonkers. He knew they were thirsty, hungry and barely surviving.

So a few years ago, he performed a thankless task. He laid food in a trap and waited for the cats to take the bait.

When they did, he took them to get neutered, then took them to an upstate sanctuary where they would be safe.

"It's much, much needed," McSweeney said. "These poor ferals don't have much of a life. They are in constant danger looking for food and being abused by people."

Many more people like McSweeney are needed to help contain the stray cat population, animal advocacy groups say.

Hoping to recruit and train volunteers, the Westchester County Trap, Neuter and Return Group, or wcTNR, will hold a workshop tomorrow at the Grinton I. Will branch of the Yonkers Public Library, at 1500 Central Park Ave.

WcTNR, a volunteer rescue group, promotes trap, neuter and return (TNR) as a way to solve the overpopulation of cats in the wild, or feral cats. The cats often are the offspring of domestic cats and usually have been abandoned by the owners.

The problem, TNR advocates say, is that people do not get their pets neutered, leaving them to breed with other cats outside. The resulting cat population often bands together in colonies.

TNR lessens the number of kittens and cats flowing into local shelters, resulting in lower euthanasia rates, advocates say.

"We want to spread public awareness and teach people how to trap because we can't be everywhere and do all these things," said Ronda Beamer, the head of wcTNR and a member of the Feral Cat Task Force of Westchester County.

Workshop participants will learn how to trap cats, where to take them for free or low-cost neutering, and how to care for cats after the procedure. Last year's workshop attracted about 20 people.

"You have to love animals and see that there's a need, that they are having litter after litter of kittens being born," Beamer said.

Tomorrow's workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, e-mail Beamer [email protected].

The Feral Cat Task Force, a group formed in June to promote TNR, is also putting together a database of the locations of stray cat colonies in the county. To submit information, e-mail [email protected]. 

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