Local shelters overwhelmed with growing feral cat population


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local shelters are becoming overrun with the growing number of wild cats without homes.

Georgia Animal Rescue and Defense (GARD) works to reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters by rescuing abandoned cats and dogs and finding them homes.

GARD Director Joy Bohannon told WSAV NOW since cat breeding season began, shelters across the county are filling up without any extra room to take in new rescues.

“The county shelters are over full and they euthanize because they don’t have any room. They don’t have any resources. It’s like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. It’s a constant battle,” Bohannon said. “And there are only so many places for these animals to go before they’re euthanized by these shelters.”

More than 20,000 cats are killed in Georgia shelters each year, which accounts for 69% of all the pets killed in the state.

Most of those are free-roaming cats who are trapped, brought to the shelter, and euthanized if not adopted.

Bohannon says someone dropped kittens off in the shelter’s driveway Monday night. But without extra space to take them in, GARD is left without sufficient resources to help them recover.

“I found three very sick kittens in our yard. What are you going to do? You get them to the vet, treat them, there’s just no place to put them. We’re putting up extra pens because there’s no place for all of these babies to go.”

Photo: GARD

Bohannon attributes shelter overpopulation to a larger issue— owners refusing to spay and neuter their animals.

“People need to understand, you don’t get an animal and put it outside unfixed,” Bohannon said. “Everyone needs to be responsible because the reality is the overpopulation of cats is ultimately humans’ fault because people get baby kittens and think they’re really cute and then toss them outside unfixed.”

GARD offers a catch, fix, and release program in an attempt to control the growing number of animals without homes.

Since January, they’ve sent more than 300 cats to shelters in the north that don’t euthanize and have spayed and neutered over 40 cats.

“They might have outside cats that they don’t spay and neuter,” she added. “And then they call and they say, ‘Well, I have all these kittens and I can’t keep up with them.’ Well, if you just spayed that first cat, we wouldn’t be in this position. Now we have 40 that we have to deal with and they’re sick and there’s not enough food and they’re struggling and it’s a horrific life for them.”

Bohannon says GARD is not sponsored by the county and works to raise all their own funding. If you’re interested in helping their cause, you can sponsor, foster, or adopt from their shelter.

They provide spaying/neutering services, vet services, food, cages, and everything needed to help nurse animals back to health.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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