After implementing a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program at the Sedalia Animal Shelter three years ago, Animal Control Services Director Randi Battson said she feels the problem of stray cats in Sedalia is getting better.

“The goal was to TNR as many cats as possible,” Battson told the Council Monday night. “We do not receive hardly any complaint phone calls throughout the day, whereas prior to us starting the TNR program, we were receiving 7 to 10 phone calls per day about cat nuisance issues. Since starting the program three years ago, we have TNR'd almost 3,000 cats, using the shelter and surrounding rescues. This year, we've done almost 500,” Battson said.

Battson was one of three presenters Monday night during Council's first meeting of 2022. She outlined some goals she would like to see accomplished.

Continuation of the TNR program is at the top of the list. “I do think it's working,” she said. “I used to have 90 cats at all times. We took in seven today, and I think that put us at 27. We have not turned a cat away in over two months. They are just not as overpopulated as they were before.”

Battson said she would like to see landscaping work done on a walking trail located behind the animal shelter, 2420 South New York. The trail is comprised of recycled tires. She noted that the trail is designed not only for shelter use, but for community use. Battson recalled one donor who gave a specific amount of money last year to be used for a gazebo to be built on site.

Dogs running at large is an ongoing problem that Battson wants to attack from the source.

In 2020, 497 dogs were brought to the shelter that were running at large. That figure takes into account dogs the public delivered to the shelter as well as animal control. In 2021, that figure ballooned to 608.

“People are not controlling their dogs, and we're having more people being injured by dogs running at large. We're having more unwanted litters born. If they were wanted, they would end up at my shelter to begin with,” Battson stated.

Adoption rates skyrocketed when COVID hit, and people wanted a source of entertainment. They came and got a pet. Now they've gone back to work, and maybe they don't have as much time for that pet anymore, Battson surmised.

Another reason for the increase in the dog population at the shelter is the fact that the City now has two fully-trained AC officers on duty. Only one is in the field at a time. “But I have one working, no matter what, seven days a week,” Battson said.

Pet ownership education is vital, she said. “We have to educate them on current ordinances. How many of you in here know that you're not allowed to leave your female dog outside when she's in heat? That's against City ordinance. Did all of you know that? (no response) Probably not. I wouldn't have,” Battson told the Council.

“We have ordinances that promote healthy pet ownership, but if people don't know about them, they're not going to follow them,” said said. “So we need to educate owners on the importance of spaying or neutering their pets.”

Battson said that there are typically three reasons animals run at large – because they're hungry, or they want to procreate, or they're not being well take care of.

“I would like to create some new ordinances to promote healthy breeding practices in Sedalia,” Battson stated. “And we need to continue to host rabies vaccine clinics.”

Each person reclaiming their animal from the shelter is handed a flyer explaining Sedalia's pet ordinances, as well as information on spaying and neutering.

Battson noted that the Sedalia Animal Shelter house 90 animals at any one time and has 2-3 employees on duty every day. Employees arrive at 8 a.m. And the shelter is open to the public from 12 to 5 p.m. Call the shelter at 826-5816 for more information.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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