Saugerties village trustees are looking to bring back the catch-spay/neuter, release program in order to reduce the number of feral cats now roaming the area behind Partition Street, and in the area of Jane Street.
Several years ago, trustees ended the program when they could no longer get volunteers to transport the cats to the ASPCA in Kingston to have the spaying or neutering done. The number of volunteers willing to live-trap the animals also declined to the point where the program quietly disappeared.
According to trustee Donald Hackett, who helped run the successful program, the colonies of feral cats declined. When the program ended several years ago, cat owners continued to set their pets free when they moved or when the cats became too much to handle. Sometimes relatives of a cat owner turned the animals loose when the owner died. These domesticated cats soon hooked up with the feral cats, producing bunches of baby kittens. The resulting offspring are now roaming the streets unvaccinated, unlicensed and unloved.
Mayor William Murphy would like to see the program restarted if volunteers can be found. Financial donations might help cover the cost of spaying and neutering the animals.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with a feral-cat trapping program or donate money to help defray costs can do so by either going to the village hall or by sending a letter or interest or donation to the village hall, 43 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477.
Officials are concerned that the feral cats will become sick and spread disease to family-owned house cats.