Old Bridge to discuss feral cat program

Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — The Township Council is expected to discuss a trap, neuter, vaccinate and return program at the next meeting.

Ward 1 Councilman Joseph Mollis said at a special meeting on Sept. 10 that it is time to move on implementing a program, noting that it has been two and a half years since the program was first discussed.

The feral cat population has been a problem in Old Bridge, the 12th largest township in the state, as it has in other municipalities.

Anita Greenberg-Belli, who is a veterinarian and a partner in the East Brunswick Animal Hospital, has said there are roughly 4,000 feral cats in Old Bridge.

Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR) is s method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and then returning them to their colonies to live out their lives.

TNVR also involves a colony caretaker who provides food, adequate shelter and monitors the cats’ health.

According to animal welfare advocates, TNVR has been shown to be the least costly, as well as the most efficient and humane, way of stabilizing feral cat populations.

Township attorney Mark Roselli said he has drafted two ordinances over the two and half years and will distribute the draft ordinances again to council members.

Council President Debbie Walker said there are many different ways of implementing the program.

Greenberg-Belli and Geoffrey Goyette, vice president of training and development at the Career Development Institute (CDI), discussed a TNVR program with the Township Council in June.

Goyette said instituting a TNVR program would help maintain colonies through volunteers at no cost to the township and prevent euthanization.

Greenberg-Belli said feral cats live an average of 6.7 years as opposed to domesticated cats that can live up to 17 years.

Council members will review the draft ordinances and discuss what they believe should be added or deleted at the council meeting on Sept. 21.