Alley Cat Allies is pledging to fund spay and neuter, vaccines, microchips, and other veterinary care on an as-needed basis for more than 100 cats and kittens in Buena Vista, Virginia, to further help the community make long-term change for cats.
It’s just the next step in our ongoing work with Buena Vista, which began when our Director of Programs Alice Burton was called to defend community cats in danger of removal from a city park before the city’s council, along with local organization Furever Friends.
While we’re still making sure protections are airtight, the cats are no longer in danger of removal thanks to our efforts and the city is moving in a positive, lifesaving direction!
“Buena Vista is a great example of the value of humane education and fearless advocacy for a community,” Alice said. “The combination of the public’s voice, a dedicated local organization’s action, and Alley Cat Allies’ leadership is helping city leaders make informed and compassionate policy decisions that will save cats’ lives. We’re excited to provide spay and neuter services that will really kick off a new era of protection and support for Buena Vista’s community cats.”
Furever Friends reported to the city that due to their Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and adoption efforts, the community cat population in the park has gone from 178 cats to just 12 cats within 10 years. Despite the incredible success, its founder and the cats’ caregiver, Mary Huffman, received a letter early in the year asking her to remove all remaining cats from parklands.
Alice’s testimony helped convince the Buena Vista council that the cats are far from “homeless,” but are healthy and thriving community members who deserve the city’s support. The mayor of Buena Vista, William Fitzgerald, agreed—and since then the council has voiced its intention to defend the cats’ right to stay in the park, provided financial support for a new permanent outdoor shelter, and is discussing plans to secure legal protections for the cats.
“Saving the cats and making sure they are provided for has been our goal from the very beginning. We’re happy to say we feel confident that the park, city, and ourselves will accomplish this goal soon,” said Mary.
Alley Cat Allies is covering the costs of more spay and neuter—for 100 cats to start—to expand the scope of our work with the city. While the cats at the park are well managed, there are cats and kittens in great need of spay and neuter services and TNR across Buena Vista.
Additionally, Alley Cat Allies is working to provide signage to inform the community that the park’s cats are well cared for and help prevent the abandoning of owned cats in the park, which has been a concern.
If the city stays on the right track, Buena Vista can become a model for community cooperation on humane and effective cat care. Alley Cat Allies is continuing to offer our expertise and has big plans in the area, so stay tuned!