ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The city of Albuquerque says it has been releasing feral cats back into Albuquerque neighborhoods as part of a program to control the population.
Residents of one neighborhood experiencing a major feral cat problem say they recently learned of the program after trapping and bringing cats into the city animal shelter only to find the same cats back in the area.
Jim Ludwick with city Animal Welfare says the program, known as the trap, neuter and return program, has been used by organizations like Animal Humane for years with the city getting on board about a year ago.
Under the program feral cats are sterilized then returned to the neighborhood from which they came.
"It's more effective in controlling the population because if you simply try to wipe out the cats, it doesn't work," Ludwick told KRQE News 13. "Other cats then come in to get to the same food supply that the original cats had."
Residents living with the cat problem say they don't believe the program is the answer and say they're tired of dealing with dozens upon dozens of stray cats roaming their streets and alleys. Some make their way into their yards, and one neighbor says he's trapped eight cats in just a few days.
Ludwick says because cats are territorial the older strays will keep new colonies from coming in, and because they are sterilized the population won't grow any more. While the affected neighborhood will still have feral cats, he says research shows under this program the populations would be smaller.
"This works better than the old method," Ludwick continues. "Over time it's clear that trapping and simply trying to eradicate doesn't reduce the street cat population.
"It just creates a situation where you are aimlessly year after year killing and killing and killing for no good effect."
The city says the trap, neuter, release program has reduced the euthanasia numbers in the city shelter by 28 percent in the last year.
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