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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT / KSVT) – The City of Twin Falls is seeking help from the community in solving the city’s wildcat problem.
In Twin Falls, the number of complaints from local residents about wild cats has steadily increased over the years. Animal Control Officer Danielle Christensen said wild cats are more likely to be wild. They can cause considerable property damage and are not used to human contact.
“I had people injured by a wildcat earlier this year, and the biggest thing about wildcats is that they are not up to date with their vaccines,” Christensen said. “And that means if you go to the hospital and explain that you were bitten by a feral cat, you have to get a rabies vaccine for every single scratch or bite wound. This is associated with three recordings. “
She said some other common complaints they get from citizens are feral cats fighting and knocking over trash cans at night. If not fixed, they mark people’s property and it is very difficult to get the smell out. Some residents are also allergic to animals, so they don’t want wild cats on their property.
To address this issue, Animal Control urges residents not to feed or house wild cats, as this will only allow the wild cat population to grow and disease to spread. The Twin Falls code requires a kennel license if someone has more than four cats, and the average cat has 1 to 8 kittens per litter and 2 to 3 litters per year. Christensen said animal control has confiscated about 20 cats from a dormitory this year. It can also be dangerous to bring a feral cat into a house if someone already has pets or children in the house, as feral cats can spread things like ringworm.
Citizens can also request live traps at Animal Control to catch feral cats that are on their property. Christensen said if someone calls 3-1-1 animal control, they will loan people a trap for a period of two weeks and they can take the caught animals to the shelter.
At the Twin Falls Animal Shelter, employees decide whether the animal is lost and needs to be reconnected with its family, or whether the animal is safe to adopt. Executive Director Debbie Blackwood said that feral cats usually need to be euthanized.
“It’s the kind of cat you can’t even pick up. They’re attacked, bitten and scratched, ”Blackwood said. “So a wild cat that you can’t touch. We can’t accommodate them, period. They are too dangerous and too potentially sick. “
She said an alternative to fighting and euthanizing feral cats is a trap, neuter, and release program that some communities across the country are running.
“That way we stop reproduction and the cat is back in familiar territory,” said Blackwood.
Christensen said city officials are looking at the possibility of a TNR program and the costs involved to see if it would be another option for the city. However, the program does not solve all problems.
“Then you come under hygienic and health conditions if you urinate and go to the bathroom in the residence,” said Christensen. “You still end up with your property damage problems. You can still have problems attacking people.”
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