Mt. Vernon Register-News

February 25, 2013

County considers animal control programs

By TESA GLASS
tesa.glass@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — The county is considering participation in two programs which would help with animal control.

According to Animal Control Supervisor Martin Boykin, there are programs available to help control feral cat colonies and help low-income residents with spaying and neutering of their dogs and cats.

"Here recently someone brought to my attention a program where the state offers money to help fix — spay and neuter — animals," Boykin said. "Through the state, with the feral cat colony program, they will help with the costs to fix up to five cats, owned by one individual, as long as a feral cat policy has been approved by the county. The resident would have a co-pay of $15 for a spay or neuter. They take the animals to a veterinarian, along with the cat program documentation."

Boykin explained the veterinarian then sends the remainder of the bill to the state for payment.

Boykin said a second program, designed for low-income families, offers up to two spay or neuters for a dog or a cat.

"There is a $15 co-pay and an application must be filled out and approved," Boykin said. "The from is sent by the veterinarians to the state and they pay for the rest of the bill."

Boykin said residents must be able to fill out an application that verifies income.

"The feral cats is not a low income issue," Boykin explained. "As long as someone is proven to have a feral cat colony that is recognized by the county, we can issue up to five vouchers for spay or neuter. "

Boykin said if the Jefferson County Board decides to participate in the programs, he and his staff would be responsible for verification of a feral cat colony.

"There has to be five or more cats that are considered under the state definition to be feral cats," Boykin said. "Generally, a feral cat is the descendent of a domestic cat that has returned to the wild. It is not a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned. Feral cats are born in the wild. The offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if it is born in the wild.

The Jefferson County Board is expected to consider the issue for further action tonight during its board meeting.