With help from Alley Cat Allies, Lake County, Florida is taking important steps to change their shelter and community to protect cats! Back in March 2015, Alley Cat Allies staff spoke at a Public Hearing on Community Cats and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) hosted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. We gave recommendations for a TNR ordinance, and the community showed overwhelming support. The TNR ordinance went to vote and, with the help of local supporters, passed in June.

With humane policies in place, there will be more positive outcomes for cats and kittens who enter Lake County's shelter.

With humane policies in place, there will be more positive outcomes for cats and kittens who enter Lake County’s shelter.

On November 12, we traveled back to Lake County to visit Lake County Animal Services (LCAS), the county shelter run by the Sheriff’s department. We met with Captain Todd Luce, overseer of the shelter, and Whitney Luckhart of LEASH to present a proposal to change LCAS’ policies and save more cats. Since the TNR ordinance passed, LEASH has established a good relationship with LCAS and spearheaded the effort to create an effective TNR program.

To ensure that more community cats stay safe in their outdoor homes, we recommended enacting an eartip protection policy, utilizing Alley Cat Allies educational materials, loaning traps only for TNR, training staff to inform the public about TNR, and diverting cats to TNR programs.  Luce embraced these proposals, and the shelter overall was very open and willing to change.

“I feel that our newly developed relationship with Alley Cat Allies is going to provide our shelter with the guidance and tools to help us make a difference in our community with the TNR ordinance,” said Luce.

We then held a training with the entire staff of LCAS about community cats, mitigating concerns, and enacting community cat protections. It was new information to many present, but the shelter staff was very willing to inform the public and support changes to save cats’ lives

Alley Cat Allies staff also presented a workshop, supported by LCAS and LEASH, to Lake County community members. We taught them about community cats, county laws and resources, and how they can get involved and come together to support a TNR program. The community was very happy to see us and expressed their gratitude for the role we’ve played in changing Lake County and protecting its cats.

We’re looking forward to big changes that will save so many cats in Lake County! We will continue to work with LCAS, LEASH, and local organizations and keep you updated on progress and successes.