Shelters seek volunteers to help trap feral cats

The Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays is The Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays is pictured. (May 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

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Three East End animal shelters are looking for volunteers to help in their mass trapping of feral cats, slated to take place at several locations on Sunday.

The shelters inoculate, and spay or neuter the cats, and return them to their colonies.

"The volunteers help in the field trapping and in the shelters," said Sara Davison, executive director of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. "You have to monitor the traps carefully. You can't just leave them out."

Davison said hundreds of feral cat colonies are in the Hamptons between Speonk and Montauk, and more are on the North Fork. They vary in size, but the largest rarely contains more than two dozen animals. "A colony of 30 would be very large. You don't see those anymore. We're on top of them," she added.

One reason for the smaller colonies, Davison said, was the spay and neuter program. While stray kittens can become house pets if adopted early enough, a feral cat out on its own will not become domesticated.

When cats are picked up, they are checked to see if they have a collar or other indication they are pets. It costs an average of $50 for each cat that is treated, and -- based on past efforts -- the traps could pick up 80 cats, which Jamie Berger, a spokeswoman for ARF, said is the group's goal.

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ARF has a $50,000 budget for spay and neuter clinics and similar programs.

Along with the ARF shelter in Wainscott, the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation and the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton are taking part in the program. Volunteers can call Rita Del Rey at 631-537-0400, ext. 210.

Volunteers are needed from about 9 a.m. until all the cats are treated, but they do not have to stay the whole day.

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