Thursday, October 11, 2007

Where's Dave, Director of HSUS NRRO?

Dave has been really busy. Here is his latest email.


Another exciting week! I thought the week would be an office week where I could plan logistics for a whole series of October field projects including a number of power point presentations I will be giving at Senator Max Baucus's Faith Based Summit on Tuesday, two presentations for the Midwest Zoo Keepers Association; a daylong Board of Directors training in Twin Falls Idaho, and two public fireside animal forums in Pocatello and Boise Idaho...and all this in the next ten days!!!


But the opportunity came up to deploy a mobile spay neuter clinic on the Crow Reservation that would help address a neighborhood population of cats. We were presented with a problem that really did not have many good outcomes. But with some networking with an area DVM, and another animal welfare group, we figured out we could make this project a disaster training exercise and field test one of our mobile trailers as an emergency animal shelter.

Of course these projects don't just happen. So before the DVM and her team showed up at 10:00 a.m. on October 4th... all 35 suspected cats had to be captured , prepped , and a protocol for recovery designed.

So on the 1st, I drove the 86 miles to the site and set up 22 cats traps and wired opened the doors so that the cats could eat freely for a few days. Then on the night of the 3rd I drove back and set the traps and caught the 12 or so easy to catch cats and set them up with water in cages in a shed we prepared for them. ( this way the DVM was guaranteed to have some cats to begin surgeries on)
I returned at O-dark thirty the next morning and reset the traps and by the time the Veterinary team arrived I had caught a total of Thirty Two cats for surgery. The team of eight volunteers completed those 32 surgeries in about 3.5 hours and the cats were set up for another quiet night in the shed so we could check each one before they were released the next morning. This also allowed me to set up some special traps baited with catnip, beaver castor and other treats to catch the always difficult to catch last few cats. The next morning I caught the final five cats for a total of 37 cats. But these five I had to drive into Billings to have spayed, wait for them to become ready to travel and then make the final trip back to their home.

So I still ended up driving almost 900 miles in just three days of trapping... but the stress on the cats was much less than if I trapped and transported each one to Billings. We also learned that the trailer worked fine... and that we could use some different techniques on this type of agricultural cat colony. About half of the cats will eventually be removed from this farm site...but for now the population will not be growing and larger and the cats will be able to put all their energy into getting ready for winter and not into reproductive behaviors.

So while i am not quite ready with my series of power points I did get some quality field time in and was able to help improve the lives of both people and felines. So it was time well spent. Now I just have to survive the rest of the month!!! ( i will post some jpegs of the cat clinic later this week)


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