Tomcat inspires City of Hays residents to help ferals

Funding the spaying and neutering stray animals is something that interests the City of Hays city council.

This small community within a subdivision off of 1626 incorporated in 1978 in order to protect the community from Austin’s southbound growth.

Pat Enyart, City of Hays resident, spoke during a city council meeting in April asking council if they would be willing to fund her efforts to spay and neuter feral animals in the area to curb overpopulation.

Enyart’s main goal to curb the overpopulation of the stray animals in her neighborhood is an effort to stop overpopulation and euthanasia at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter, which serves as Hays County’s only animal housing facility.

City of Hays Secretary Connie Gibbens’ grandson taking a nap with the cat they call Mr. Grey.

Enyart began her advocacy for stray animals after joining the Hays County Animal Advocates group on Facebook a few months ago. Soon after, she noticed a large tomcat coming by her house that had a bite out of his ear.

She posted on NextDoor to see if anyone owned the long-haired, brown-grey cat and found out that he was a neighborhood cat that had been around for at least 10 years.

“As more pictures were posted, I found people were quite fond of him and had given him numerous names including, Fluffy Kitty, Mr. Gray, Moose Kitty, and Fluffers,” Enyart said.

Enyart took him to get neutered and his ear fixed and once he returned, her neighbors offered to help pay for the treatments. “Everyone came together for this mangy little cat,” she said.

All of the community support gave her an idea.

“With all the attention on this cat, the recent rabies outbreak, seeing several ferals in the neighborhood, and an occasional loose dog around the city, I thought it was a great time to introduce a community animal project, especially knowing how overtaxed the Hays County shelter is,” Enyart said.

The animal shelter last year euthanized 45 percent of the animals it took in. For this reason, Enyart would rather put a community effort together than call animal control to fix the problem.

At the council meeting, Enyart requested seed money from the city to start a community project which would help fund the purchase of a humane trap, money to fix and vaccinate cats in the area, and to assist verified low-income residents who are unable to pay for their pets’ needs.

Enyart was also looking at the potential to bring a vaccination clinic to the city twice a year to curb rabies outbreaks.

After the initial seed money, the project would be funded by community donations. Volunteers who join the project would help catch and transport feral cats in the community and bring them to low-cost spay and neuter facilities.

Council discussed the proposal at its June 11 meeting, but decided to appoint a committee to look at options and see what it would cost the city to make the donation.

The committee met June 23 and is awaiting word from the city attorney to see if there is any liability in conjunction with the community program.

Candice Blake, a city council member, said the meeting was “an exploratory meeting, to make sure that the animals in the neighborhood stay safe, and to get more information on how many animals there are and how much it would cost.”

The city council is due to discuss the issue more at its council meeting on July 9. However, Blake says the city will probably not be deciding anything soon because the city still needs a lot more information on the program.

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