Dougherty Co. tackles the problem of feral and stray cats

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Animal control officers are asking the public for help in solving the problem of feral and stray cats in Dougherty County.

The Dougherty County Police Department (DCPD) Animal Control Unit is running a pet food donation campaign during the month of December, but is using it as an opportunity to educate people on the wild and stray cat population.

Dr Fred Freeland is the veterinarian at the East Albany Animal Clinic.(WALB / Zoom)

“It’s bad and getting worse every day,” said Dr. Fred Freeland, the veterinarian of the East Albany Animal Clinic.

Freeland said there are estimates on the severity of the problem.

“We could have 10,000 feral cats in the Albany / Dougherty County area,” Freeland said. “These cats frequently congregate in dangerous areas. Restaurants, apartment complexes, (and) businesses with a caring employee.

Wendy Howell is the Public Information Officer for Dougherty County.

“By the time they call DCPD Animal Control, there are 30 cats at this point because all the other cats have come because there is food and then they start to populate,” Howell said.

They said the cheapest way to fix this is to spay and neuter cats, but it’s not that simple.

“To reduce that population, that estimate would be 5,000 spay / neuter per year,” Freeland said. “It’s an extraordinary number. “

The East Albany Animal Clinic sterilizes and sterilizes wild and stray cats inexpensively: $ 30 for wild sterilization and $ 40 for wild sterilization. Both include rabies vaccination and ear listening.

Previously they did 500 of these surgeries a year, but this year they only did 200-250 because of finances and fewer volunteers.

Wendy Howell is the Public Information Officer for Dougherty County.
Wendy Howell is the Public Information Officer for Dougherty County.(WALB / Zoom)

While DCPD’s Animal Control Unit is asking for donations of cat food right now, it is also asking for donations of money to help pay for spaying and neutering these animals.

Freeland said if you feel the urge to feed a stray cat, you need to take responsibility for the animal that moves forward.

“You are helping to breed this cat,” he said. “So the first time you pull out a bowl of food, your next step is to pick up the phone to call for surgery. “

You can drop off pet food or donate money to the Dougherty County Police Department on Habersham Road or the East Albany Animal Clinic on East Broad Avenue.

DCPD Animal Control does not trap any cats at this time due to a lack of manpower.

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