Starting October 1, Lexington County will begin partnering with the Community Cats program at Pawmetto Lifeline to reduce the number of euthanized cats in shelters.
Cats no longer wanted by their owners, stray cats and trapped cats will be taken to Pawmetto Lifeline to be spayed or neutered, ear-tipped and vaccinated before being released back into the wild.
In the past, Lexington County animal shelters had undertaken these responsibilities.
Lexington County believes that this will reduce the euthanasia rates by keeping feral cats out of animal shelters.
Charleston and Richland County had already implemented similar programs.
The Humane Society handles the same responsibilities as Pawmetto Lifeline in Richland County. Executive Director Wayne Brenesssel said that Columbia faced the same problems before it implemented the policy.
"A feral cat was brought into the shelter, trapped or however brought in ... there's no hope for that feral cat," Brenessel said. "It's not going to be put up for adoption because it's antisocial. So euthanasia was pretty much the only alternative."
Brenessel has been advocating for Lexington County to adopt a trap neuter release policy. He has seen euthanasia rates reduce drastically in Richland County since the program was implemented, and he expects the same to occur in Lexington County.
To find out more about the program, visit http://www.pawmettolifeline.org/how_we_help/--community_cat_program.