Feline frenzy

Oldham County Humane Society
focusing on cat problem

La Grange has an overpopulation of wild cats

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(May 2007) – Controlling the stray cat population in La Grange, Ky., has been no easy task for the Oldham County Humane Society. Forty to 50 volunteers keep the organization on its feet while educating the public about their services.
“We’re all animal lovers,” said Joni Boon, president of an eight-member board that oversees the society. “Our goal is to help the animals and the people who love them.”
The society began in January 2005. It also serves surrounding counties but focus on Oldham County and its feral (wild) cat problem.
These cats tend to live in large colonies, said Boon. Gail Stevenson oversees the society’s Feral Fix program. Stevenson said these animals are terrified of humans and have “never been treated right.”

Dr. Teresa Gregory

Photo provided

Dr. Teresa Gregory (left) of the
Crestwood Veternary Clinic and an assistant examine a feral cat. Gregory does spaying
and neutering for the society.

Stevenson and other volunteers set live traps for feral cats and kittens, spay and neuter them, and administer a three-year rabies shot. Non-feral cats are then taken to a volunteer family, which can provide them with food, water and shelter until they are adopted.
In addition to seeing to the cat’s basic needs, volunteers work with the animals to build their socialization skills, if possible, before a permanent home is found for them. If the cats cannot be socialized, they are returned to the spot where they were captured and released back into the colony. This method reduces the colony size naturally because the cats are unable to reproduce.
The society only takes in animals that are in drastic situations, such as the case of a mother cat that was living in a storm sewer, said Stevenson. After a heavy rain, her babies were washed away and she was captured and cared for.
“Our main goal is to control the unwanted pet population in Oldham County,” said Stevenson. The society wants pet owners to see that having their pets spayed and neutered is “the right thing to do,” she said.
The society offers a low-cost spay and neutering clinic on the first Saturday of every month. A designated area of the former Cherry House building on South Hwy. 53 in La Grange is used for the clinic, since the society does not have a permanent facility. These clinics are for individuals who cannot afford a veterinary service, said Boon.
“Every bit of money that comes in is spent on the animals,” said Boon. Board members spend their own money as well to keep the society going. In the past, the Crestwood City Council has approved money for society services.
“The majority of our costs are for our program services,” said Michelle Culp, treasurer. The society has received some funding from the McClain Foundation, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Spay and Neuter Program, and a matching fund grant from Wal-Mart. The society relies on many fundraisers throughout the year to help meet program costs.
In addition to volunteering with the society, Culp and her husband also run a non-profit organization, Wingspan of Kentucky. They rehabilitate wild birds and provide educational programs about the birds. The two organizations go hand-in-hand for her.
“The humane society is part of what I’ve been interested in my entire life,” said Culp. Through previously volunteering with the Animal Care Society, Culp became acquainted with society volunteers and was asked to join the board.
“We try to gear as much money as we can toward helping the animals or people,” she said. More than 1,500 animals have been spayed and neutered by the society on a one-time basis for individuals who could not afford a vet.
The society also spays and neuters animals from Oldham County Animal Control, a completely separate organization. It is not affiliated with the Kentucky Humane Society.
Society members hope to create an educational program that can be used in the Oldham County school system. Culp said she hopes the society will continue to grow with the addition of new members and much needed volunteer help.

• To become a member or for more information, contact Joni Boon at (502) 222-0690, (502) 222-7537 or visit: www.humanesocietyoldhamcounty.com. Pets must be pre-registered for clinics, no walk-ins are taken. Upcoming Events are May 5, Male Cat Neuter Day; June 2, Spay & Neuter Clinic; June 2-3, Arts on the Green and featuring the art work of Erika Perry.

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