Logan County TNR Project


Written by Linda Yoest

Logan County TNR Project is a local all-volunteer group that traps feral cats, takes them to be spayed and neutered, and returns them.

TNR’s current project is Fix the Ferals at Lakeside—an area* on the west side of S.R. 235 from U.S. 33 north to Duff Road—which is expected to start next month. The estimated number of cats needing TNR’d there is in the hundreds; the cost will be in the thousands. They are asking for donations to complete the project.

How long will this take? That depends upon having the funds, getting the clinic appointments, and training volunteers to help—but the process won’t be quick. Current TNR activities in other locations will continue, however, no new locations are being added at this time.

This TNR group came together because of the passion of one person, Heather Hillery, who trapped and transported cats to and from low-cost clinics to be spayed and neutered, often at her own expense. Why? Because every year there were too many free roaming cats producing countless more free-roaming cats. In 2016 Heather heard Bellefontaine City Council was considering a feeding ban on feral cats. Feeding bans don’t work, and she was successful in persuading the Council to allow her to TNR the cats on city-owned property, a location that led to the proposed feeding ban. Heather gave her mission the name Logan County TNR Project.

Heather was joined by Roni Lile, and soon by a few other women. She had a vision to create a 501(c)3 non-profit, an accomplishment that required forming a corporation, creating a Board of Directors, and registering with the Ohio Secretary of State; as well as registering as a charitable organization with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, obtaining an EIN (Employee Identification Number) from the IRS, and finally filing an application requesting 501(c)3 status with the IRS. Logan County TRN Project received its 501(c)3 determination letter in January of 2017.

Before, during, and since all of that paperwork this little group of volunteers stayed busy trapping, transporting, returning, and fundraising to pay for the spays, neuters, and state-required rabies vaccines. They have sterilized over 2500 cats since 2016. The average cost of spay and neuter surgery is $65 at low-cost clinics outside Logan County, which has no such clinics. Added to that is the cost of gas to transport cats to and from the clinic —which means dropping them off in the morning and returning for them in the afternoon. The cost of spay/neuter is actually anywhere from $25 to $125 per cat, depending upon the clinic; and getting clinic appointments can be weeks out. The TNR group has regular donors, but not enough to pay for more than a few cats a month. Fundraisers and raffles help in generating funds, and earlier this year they were awarded the interest from a trust fund which brings about $1500 a quarter–that will fix about 6 cats a month. There are also operational expenses such as live traps, safety equipment, sanitation supplies, food for baiting traps, and while cats are held before and after surgery. Or, when they end up with kittens that cannot be left in the wild to fend for themselves–but that’s a different story—that’s rescue, and although this group is strictly TNR they do coordinate with the people who foster the cats, and kittens needing to be rescued.

Logan County TNR Project has made a difference in our county, having worked with multiple colonies until every cat was spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, while there is still an endless supply of cats that need to be fixed, there is a limited supply of the two most important things needed to fix them. Money and helpers.

As for ways people can help, they always need money, of course; but they also need volunteers willing to be trained to trap and transport street cats. It’s not as simple as baiting a live trap and waiting to catch a cat. It may sound easy, but it can be dangerous. A terrified cat can inflict serious damage to human flesh, and some of the group have the scars to prove it.

A few cat facts:
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, feral cats don’t want to live indoors. They have learned to survive in all types of weather. They are social creatures and prefer living together in groups called colonies. Many colonies survive unattended in areas where they can scavenge for food, but other colonies are managed by caretakers who feed them at least once a day. Cats may not be able to read a clock, but they know what time they get fed every day.

Help Logan County TNR Project: Donate. Volunteer. Spay and neuter your cats. Donations can be made via PayPal to [email protected], checks can be mailed to PO Box 102, Huntsville, OH 43324. The best way to contact them is through the contact form on their website or the email address here. They try to answer emails within seventy-two hours.

Watch their Facebook page and website for information on monthly TNR meetings to resume in January or the website: https://logancountytnr.wixsite.com/logancountytnr