ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman claims her neighborhood and other areas are being overrun by stray cats, dumped there by the city. Now, she is leading a group fighting to end the program she calls cruel.
“My primary concern is the suffering the cats endure, and I’ve seen this first hand,” said Mary Britton, who is against the city’s Trap Neuter Release (TNR) program.
For the last seven years, the city has been trapping stray cats, fixing them so they don’t breed, then releasing them back into neighborhoods.
Britton says she has seen dozens of those cats get dropped off in her neighborhood, and soon, get killed by a car.
“As you can see, this is not a cat sanctuary, it is a city street with vehicles,” said Britton.
Britton is part of a group of people fighting against the TNR, or Community Cats, program.
“Cats have been abandoned on our streets, our schools, our nursing homes and generally poor neighborhoods like the one where I live,” said Britton.
New data from the city shows Britton does live in one of the several hot spots across the city. Areas like the southeast area of Central, north of Paseo Del Norte by Domingo Baca Park, and the area of Coors south of I-40.
The city says this year, 2,186 cats were picked up, 408 were kept at the shelter, and the remaining 1,778 got dropped back off exactly where they were originally found.
“These cats have no water source, half of them don’t know where they are,” said Britton.
Still, the city says while some things are out of their control, like cats getting hit by cars, the program is working.
“We are actually seeing a reduction in the amount of deceased cats,” said Adam Ricci, the Director of Animal Welfare.
Ricci says their data shows the number of stray cats in the city is also going down.
“We’re no longer going and picking up 30-40 from one area, we’re going around and getting 4, 5, 10 much smaller numbers,” said Ricci.
Now, Ricci is asking for patience as the program slowly cuts down on those numbers across the city.
“It’s still a very young, new program,” said Ricci.
However, Britton says there is only one solution.
“I want this program stopped in its entirety,” said Britton.
Britton says she is planning to file a lawsuit against the city over the TNR program.