A couple of years ago, I started microchipping the street kitties I trap and have altered. I guess I wanted to know if they ever ended up in the wrong hands (aka, animal control), they'd be tracked back to me and they'd be safe. I never knew just how important that chipping would turn out to be.
Twice now, I've been called by animal control stating they had "one of my cats." After comparing notes, I realized these were two of my ferals. I've learned that if someone doesn't want a "stray" cat in their yard, they can catch them themselves or call an animal control officer to pick them up. Our animal control agency only holds feral cats for three days. After that time is up, they are killed. It isn't until right before they go to euthanize that they scan the cat for a chip...it's the law, I guess. It was in those moments, chips were found and I was called.
This has been so interesting to me. I guess I can't blame people for not wanting cats roaming in their yards but what I do get upset about is what happens to the cat when they're at animal control, a facility run by our tax dollars.
A "feral" cat has only three days to "survive" at animal control. After that time, they are killed. Many of these cats are not wild. They may have just been abandoned, lost, or dumped on the street.
When I get the call that one of "my" cats is at their facility and needs to be picked up, I get a list of fees that I have incurred. Since animal control doesn't scan the cat right until time of euthanasia, they've already been there for three days...that's three days of boarding charges for me. Then, I have to pay their impound fee. Then, if I can't find the rabies vaccination paperwork (a lot of backtracking since there are many trappers and many vets), I have to pay the rabies fee.
So, I've not only paid probably around $100 to have said cat spayed/neutered/vaccinated to reduce the homeless population (& save the community money and hassle), I have to pay all of these extra charges once a cat winds up at animal control. On top of that, I have to find a volunteer to go pick up the cat and re-release him/her back to original community from which it is probably banned.
No good deed goes unpunished says my dear friend. So, now what should I do with the next cat I capture and alter? Continue to chip? Throw caution to the wind?
Knowing me...I'll probably will receive more animal control calls down the road :)