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Web posted February 22, 2006 The Shawnee Sun
SPAR Asks City To Fund Cat Day
By Wayne Trotter Shawnee Sun Reporter

One new request for city financial support was received last week when the Shawnee Community Service Contracts Review Committee met at City Hall.

But while the committee agreed to consider asking the City Commission to appropriate $7,500 for National Feral Cat Day in October, the thrust of its discussion focused on taking a close look at contracts the city already has - including some that wouldn't normally fall under the committee's jurisdiction.

The committee, a mixture of City Commission members, city staffers and representatives of the general public, met Friday afternoon (Feb. 17) in the basement of City Hall.

The request for a new subsidy came from Saving Pets At Risk Inc. (SPAR), an animal rights organization which proposes to "trap, neuter and return" 100 cats from the downtown area and selected neighborhoods on Oct. 16 in an attempt to prevent "the birth of tens of thousands of kittens in the near future."

SPAR President Carolyn Sullivan made the request in a letter to City Manager Jim Collard. In that letter, Sullivan wrote that SPAR would be working with a national group called "Alley Cat Allies."

Sullivan explained the "trap, neuter and return" (TNR) technique in her letter to Collard.

"TNR is the only effective, humane and cost-efficient method of reducing stray and feral cat populations," she wrote. "Cats already living outdoors are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, sterilized (spayed or neutered) and eartipped for identification by veterinarians. Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes and healthy adult cats (too wild to be adopted) are returned to their familiar habitats under the care of dedicated volunteers (SPAR members).

Committee members, including Collard, Mayor Chuck Mills and Vice Mayor Linda Peterson, discussed the proposal thoroughly before deciding to formally consider it at a later meeting.

"This is a legitimately recognized group and they're making a legitimate request of the city," Collard observed.

"This group has handled requests like that and has evaluated whether or not the request meets the guidelines," noted Peterson. "I think we ought to look at it. If this group recommends 'no,' then that's the recommendation that goes ahead." She said that if the committee recommends funding the activity, SPAR would have to come under the same guidelines as groups which already get city money.

In general, city assistance is limited to helping organizations provide services Shawnee would otherwise be expected to offer. Groups receiving money from the city must meet strict fiscal reporting guidelines.

Sullivan also asked the city to quit using gas to kill dogs and cats at the animal shelter and instead switch to injection.