Instead of killing cats, the goal is to spay and neuter them, to eventually reduce the population of stray cats around the city. Founder of HOPE for Animals, Madeleine Laird. "Over the years we've been doing trap and euthanize. For about forty years, and it has proven not only ineffective, but our population has increased exponentially."
Laird says if a cat is unowned, the community is responsible for taking care of it. "We are, as a coalition, trying to bring the cats in. Assess them for health and wellfare, resources in the wild. Get them spayed and neutered, vaccinated, and return them to the field where they came from. Where the resources exist."
Laird explains why it's important to return stray cats. "If we just did a cat here, a cat there, all over the place, we would never see a reduction in population. We've got to trap out an entire colony, then have that colony protect its territory and then move on to the next colony."
Fort Wayne residents have mixed opinions about stray cats.
"I've seen about five. But I figure as long as I'm feeding them it's keeping them out of getting in people's trash. I haven't had a problem with them, I don't know if anyone else has, I haven't heard them complain about them."
"I see about five or six running around everyday. There's a couple of black ones, a couple of white ones, a couple of black and white ones. They walk all over our cars, leave paw prints all over, it's just crazy."
Kenda Welch is glad that they are going to spay and neuter the cats..
"One of my kids actually brought one to me, and it was in such bad shape, it actually ended up passing away on it's own. So yah, I think spay and neuter will actually help reduce the population."
While Kris Sowers disagrees with the spay and neutering.
"I would rather them be put down because of the way they are running wild and going crazy, and I hope they don't have rabies or anything."
Laird says they hope to get a grant that will allow them to spay and neuter 4500 cats in the next two years.
If you have questions, or would like to help catch stray cats, you can call the HOPE Community Cat Hotline at (260) 440 - 8893.
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