Trap, Neuter, and Return program is introduced in Rapid City

Published: Sep. 3, 2017 at 9:54 PM CDT
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Three home owners in Rapid City, with the help of a local veterinarian, are starting a trap-neuter-return program in their neighborhood. While other states use this, it is an uncommon practice in South Dakota, and they want to change that.

Gwen and Harold Fenhaus, Matt McDonald, Kelsey Davis and Leslie Brooks decided to take action after the stray cat population went from one female cat two years ago to 16 cats this summer.

They trap the cats and take them to All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, where Dr. Dean Falcon spays or neuters them, and then returns them to the neighborhood. While many people would think just to get rid of these stray cats, they say it wouldn't help the problem.

"That plan would fail for two reasons,” said Harold Fenhaus. “First we wouldn’t have any older cats to keep more from cats moving into the neighborhood and the little cats might not survive on their own."

The neighbors find this as a more humane way of taking care of the cat population, instead of just taking them to the shelter where they may not get adopted. And they say local veterinarians, like theirs, are willing to help.

"There is probably a misconception that your local vet isn't willing to help,” said Matt McDonald. “The Humane Society does a lot for the community but it goes to show other vets like Dr. Falcon are willing to step up.”

They have had two cats adopted, and hope to help the other kitties to find forever homes.