Tryon to work with Po’ Kitties for free-roaming cats

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

by Leah Justice

Following an amendment to the Town of Tryon’s animal control ordinance, council discussed free-roaming cats with the Foothills Humane Society’s Po’ Kitties.

Council met Jan. 15 and heard from Po’ Kitties volunteers Dana Mayer and Emmy Summers.

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Tryon Town Manager Caitlin Martin clarified the town’s ordinance saying the ordinance states it is unlawful for any dog, cat or other animal to run at large within town limits. The amendment approved in December simply changed the times town staff can enforce the ordinance. The former ordinance said the town could enforce the restrictions between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.  The amendment deleted the times so staff can enforce the ordinance at any time.

Martin said the town’s main problems have not been with cats, but rather dogs and goats. Po’ Kitties representatives told council that any problems the town has with free roaming cats, staff should contact them.

Po’ Kitties traps free-roaming cats, gets them spayed or neutered, gives them a rabies inoculation, tips their ears for identification and returns them to a managed colony or home territory. Po’ Kitties also socializes and adopts out kittens and tame cats.

“TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) has been proven to reduce ‘nuisance’ behaviors, such as spraying, fighting, yowling and producing litter after litter, states a Po’ Kitties brochure. “It greatly reduces the number of cats taken to local shelters. It is the humane solution: it results in the natural reduction of free-roaming cats and allows the cats to live healthy lives in peace and freedom. TNR is the approved program for the National Animal Control Association.”

More than 3,200 cats have been through the Po’ Kitties program since its inception in October 2007. Thanks to Po’ Kitties, the Foothills Human Society’s live release rate for cats in 2012 was 99.9 percent.

Mayer, who is the chair of Po’ Kitties, told council the whole point of the organization is to reduce the cat population. She said there are not many colonies in the town limits of Tryon.

She said there are some that a kind person feeds and Po’ Kitties spay and neuter and vaccinate for rabies. Mayer said if Po’ Kitties trap tame cats they can be adopted out and they try to get them off the streets.

Council agreed to work with Po’ Kitties for any free-roaming cats. For more information about Po’ Kitties or to contact the organization regarding a free-roaming cat call Mayer at 828-894-2088.