Fairfax County Animal Control will set traps for feral cats in Mount Vernon today.
Animal Control officers are setting traps in response to reports from residents that a large number of feral cats are living in and around the 8300 block of Central Avenue, according to Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.
In June 2011, Animal Control officers discovered 23 carcasses of cats and kittens and some cats that were still alive at a residence in the 8300 block of Central Avenue, said Caldwell. Barbara Cason, 66, was charged with three counts of animal cruelty.
“I don’t know the precise number but it is a problem in that area,” Caldwell said. “Animal control will try to take care of the problem. We’re working with zoning and other entities on the follow up of this case.”
Legal action has been taken and the house was condemned by Fairfax County officials, according to Caldwell. Animal control has continued to follow up on the situation and will be trapping feral cats until June, but the program could end earlier if the problem has been alleviated.
Fairfax County Animal Control uses the a trap, neuter and return (TNR) program. The Fairfax County Animal Shelter recently received the Community Impact Award for its low-cost spay/neuter program and for its and TNR program. To date, more than 4,200 animals have been spayed or neutered with feral cats comprising nearly 45 percent of the total animals going to the low-cost clinic.
Animal Control will assess each trapped cat and consult with the animal shelter to see if they’re able to apply the program to the individual cat, Caldwell said.
“Animal control has been ordered by the court to trap the cats and take them to the shelter,” Caldwell said. “Each cat will be held for the mandatory stray holding time and will be determined if tame or feral. If tame, they’ll be placed for adoption. If feral, the shelter will seek relocation sites for the cats.”
The shelter urges the public to contact them with potential relocation sites.
One resident didn't see feral cats being a problem and has seen cats while walking his beagle around the neighborhood.
"I don't think there's a problem with feral cats," said resident Charles Stallard, who has lived in Mount Vernon for 50 years. "When I walk down the trail [in Vernon Woods Park] I see four cats and a kitten, but I think a couple of people who live down the block let their cats out."
Residents living on and around Central Avenue may opt to keep their cats inside for a few weeks. Traps will be checked daily and cats will be transported to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.