One of the many ways the Toronto Humane Society (THS) works hard to combat this issue is through its volunteer-run Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program. This group has now held 15 clinics and spayed/neutered more than 400 street cats. TNR is recognized as the most humane and effective approach to managing feral cat overpopulations. It involves trapping all or most of the cats in a colony, having them neutered and vaccinated and then returning them to their territory.
Other ways THS helps reduce pet overpopulation is by spay/neutering every animal before adoption. The shelter also encourages every owner to have his/her companion animal licensed. This will ensure lost animals are promptly reunited with their owners. Unlike micro chipping, which is only done once and not always updated (owners can forget), licensing is required annually, which increases the likelihood that the animal's contact information is up-to-date. Remember, accidents happen and even indoor cats are known to unexpectedly slip out the door and run away.
What can you do to help raise awareness on International Homeless Pets Day? Here are just a few ideas:
- Adopt a homeless pet
- Visit your local shelter or rescue and volunteer to walk or play (socialize) with the animals
- Find out what your local shelter or rescue needs and supply (some of) it. For instance, the THS is currently in need of towels, blankets, children's pools and biodegradable bags for "poop 'n' scoop"
- Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up some extra puppy or kitten food and drop it off at the animal shelter
- If you Tweet or Facebook, post a message and photo about a homeless pet to help it find a home (you can repost the daily Pet of the Day on the THS Facebook site)
- Blog about the situation.
- Spay or neuter your pets and encourage others to do the same