Every year, thousands of cats end up at the shelter or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. Stray and feral cats can be a nuisance to some and County Ordinance 14-39 states that it is unlawful for any person to harbor, feed, and/or keep a stray animal. But instead of trapping and euthanizing these cats, Citrus County Animal Services has partnered with the Humanitarians of Florida, Inc. and Snippet Citrus to provide another option - Trap/Neuter/Return.
Humanitarians of Florida Inc. and Snippet Citrus are non-profit organizations, which do not receive Federal, State or County funds for this program. They rely on grants, private donations and fundraisers.
The Citrus County BOCC has amended the Animal Ordinance to include an exemption for those citizens who are actively working with a qualified not-for-profit such as Humanitarians or Snippet Citrus, to trap/neuter/return stray cats in the community. The Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) Program allows citizens who are caring for stray or feral cats to trap them, have them spay/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, micro-chipped, ear-tipped and return them back to their property. This service is offered at a reduced price. The ordinance was changed so that people can care for and feed these cats while working through the private organization(s) and do it responsibly, safely and legally.
Without these two organizations overseeing the program, the County could not effectively, or financially, provide a trap, neuter and release program for the area. The programs have made great progress since April 2012, with 1,440 stray/feral cats sterilized and released back to their colonies and caregivers and 42 kittens were adopted.