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Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter introduces community/feral cat program

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
The Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter is now offering a Community/Feral Cat program to residents of Carter County. 
The program is being offered by the ASPCA of Asheville, N.C., and allows these cats to be spayed or neutered, ear tipped (to identify if a cat has been spayed or neutered), and receive a rabies vaccine at absolutely no charge. 
On Aug. 17, the Carter County Commission gave permission for the shelter to use a donated van from the Taylor/Dewlawder Estate. This van will be used for transporting the cats to Asheville. After gaining permission, the shelter officially announced the program on Aug. 18. 
Shannon Posada, director of the shelter, said that the response so far has been very positive. Likewise, as of Wednesday, the shelter had already gotten their first load of 25 cats ready to go after just one day.
“People have been very interested in the program,” she said. “We have had outstanding support from the community so far and we’ve had so many people that want to take advantage of this.”
Posada explained that people have been calling and expressing interest since the announcement.
The two types of cats aimed at in this program are community cats and feral cats. Community cats have typically been abandoned, are fed by people in the community and can be tamed. Feral cats are wild and cannot be tamed, but are dependent on people for food. 
Feral cats should be brought in live traps to the shelter for the program. 
Posada went on to speak about the benefits this program brings. She said that through spaying and neutering these cats, they can greatly cut down on litters and the population size in the area. 
“This is going to help cut back on our kitten seasons tremendously,” she said. “And it will help cut back on the total cat population for this area in an enormous amount.”
Posada hopes that residents of Carter County (this is only offered to those living in Carter County) will take advantage of this program. She said that as long as it remains free, the shelter will continue to offer this. 
“This is a great way for citizens to take advantage and be responsible pet owners,” she said. “I think our community is going to see a major decline in the cat population if we continue to take advantage of this program. 
For additional information regarding the program, contact the shelter at 423-547-6359.