There has been a lot of deserved buzz about the great changes that are occurring at Kerr County Animal Services (KCAS), including the hiring of an adoption coordinator, implementing specific shelter software, extending hours to better serve residents, and microchipping pets.  However, what neither the city nor the county has addressed are the number of homeless cats that continue to die in Kerr County.  In 2018, 670 cats — not all feral — were euthanized at Kerr County Animal Services; this represents 83 percent of the total number of animals killed.

The city and county are in the process of updating their animal regulations.  It is essential that both entities examine trap, neuter, return (TNR) practices as an alternative to the continued killing of cats, and that specific language allowing and endorsing TNR and community cats be included in the revised regulations.  TNR has been proven to reduce the homeless cat population, which is more than can be said of the current practices of merely trapping and euthanizing these animals, many of which are not feral.  Healthy, outdoor, working cats help to reduce rodent, snake and scorpion populations, and when sterilized and vaccinated in accordance with TNR practices, will actually prevent new cats from moving into an area.  

For years it has been the practice to simply trap and kill homeless cats.  That method of population control is not only outdated and inhumane but also ineffective and has done nothing to reduce the homeless cat population.  That method also doesn’t represent the natural spirit of Kerrville that so many of us love — we as a community must be better than this. 

The county is spending a lot of taxpayer money to impound, feed and subsequently kill these animals. Isn’t it time we look at the TNR alternative? 

Shelly Sandy, Kerrville

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