The "101" Department: Talking TNR
Promoting a better approach to feral cats to your local officials
As the lone animal control officer in Gonzales, Texas—a community of 7,200 people—Larry Valiz has a big job. He’s been handling animal control in Gonzales for nine years, and although his job has long involved responding to calls about “nuisance” cats, until he partnered up with the Friends of Gonzales Animal Shelter’s trap-neuter-return (TNR) program in 2008, most of those calls ended badly.
“We couldn’t get a lot of [the cats] fixed, but we can now,” says Valiz. “It makes things better. Now we’ve got places to go with them; everybody wants them. I just hope [the program] keeps getting grants so I can keep doing what I can do to help the animals in Gonzales. It’s part of my job, like this is what I’m here for, to help the animals, and I love doing it.”
In 2004, soon after Friends of Gonzales Animal Shelter (FOGAS) was founded as a nonprofit promoting spay/neuter and adoption in Gonzales County and surrounding areas, it established a cat shelter, working out of a newly remodeled building provided by the city. But it didn’t do TNR until about 2008, “when we became more effective in convincing property owners to let us return the cats,” says Mary Anne MacLean, founder of FOGAS.