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A solution for stray cats in Fond du Lac

Posted at 5:54 PM, Mar 06, 2024

FOND DU LAC — The city of Fond du Lac has decided to legalize a practice to deal with the area stray cat population.

  • Fond du Lac officially allows for TNR for stray cats in the city.
  • Animal rescues see this as a big win.
  • "There's no guarantee that this is going to keep the high flyer status,” bird enthusiast Laura DeGolier said.

It all started about a year ago, when Fond du Lac STEM Academy student Madison Hernandez brought up “TNR” or “trap, neuter, release” for feral cats at a city council meeting.

“This is an ideal plan for Fond du Lac,” Hernandez said at a meeting in March 2023. The goal: stop the cats from reproducing, and take the pressure off local animal rescues that trap hundreds of feral cats every year.

"The problem with feral cats in the city of Fond du Lac has been growing exponentially for quite some time,” Critter Junction Animal Rescue owner Renee Webb said. “I drive home and I can count eight cats from here to the other side of the city"

After that meeting, the city began to work with animal advocacy groups to develop the program. But, the idea was quickly met with concern from bird lovers, who worried that once released the ferals would eat birds and threaten Fond du Lac’s “high flyer” designation with Bird City USA.

"There's no guarantee that this is going to keep the high flyer status,” bird enthusiast Laura DeGolier said.

DeGolier did not want the city to include TNR in its official policy, so they agreed on a compromise: instead of making the practice mandatory, the city decriminalized it. Shelters can do it if they choose, while retaining the option to adopt or euthanize.

"Interested groups who do that will not be arrested for what they're doing in the city, but it is not an official policy beyond that they're allowing it to happen,” DeGolier said.

Animal rescues see this as a big win.

"We actually had our very first live release last night which, I’ll try not to cry, was fabulous,” Webb said.

Degolier says they recently submitted the city’s Bird City application for 2024, and they’ll find out in a few months whether this compromise will allow the city to keep its status.