We received this from the Humane Assoc. of Georgia. It requests cross posting, so we're going to post it. It scared us for a moment, but the cats will not be trapped and euthanized. Whew, a collective deep breath!
Georgia Alert: Paul Crawley of 11 Alive reports on cats spared at the Atlanta Farmers Market in Forest Park and Spay/Neuter License Plate on 11/13/09
http://www.11alive.com/rss/rss_story.aspx?storyid=137479#comments FOREST PARK, GA - If you want to find out what it's like to herd cats, just come to the Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park.
You have to look closely to find them because they're wild and don't appreciate too much attention. "There are a lot of cats out here," says market vendor Jeni Waller, "They roam around. They've lived out here for many years."
The dozens of wild cats are often a nuisance for many produce vendors, sometimes breaking into their stalls through the ceiling looking for things like dog food.
Last April a handful of Fayette County Humane Society volunteers, like Maureen Olvey, began trapping the wild cats, raising money to have them neutered and vaccinated and then returning them to the Farmers Market so they won't reproduce...all for free.
But this week they contacted us saying the market's manager was threatening to get rid of the cats altogether. "He did confirm that they are going to remove the cats from the market," Olvey told 11 Alive News. "They have traps and they're going to trap them and euthanize them," she added. Olvey says she was told the cats would be taken to the Clayton County Animal Shelter. If wild cats are taken to such shelters they're usually put to death quickly since they're not fit for adoption. After we called them Thursday, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which runs the State Farmers Market, told us the plan to eliminate the cats has been scrapped.
"That was discussed," Agriculture Department spokesman Arty Schronce told 11 Alive News, "but we decided to continue with the trap, neuter, release program because in looking at all the options, we really felt like this was the best thing for us. It was the best thing for the cats and, I think, the best thing for the taxpayers as well."
Agriculture officials and the animal rights activists agree that leaving a neutered cat population at the Farmers Market helps prevent more cats from invading their territory and that removing them would simply open a vacuum for new strays to move in.
So for now, anyway, the clowder of cats at the State Farmers Market still have their nine lives.
The Georgia Agriculture Department promotes a special state license tag that contributes more than $22 of the fee to spay and neuter dogs and cats.
Information about the tag may be found on their website. A private group called Lifeline Animal Project also provides low cost neutering through its website.