Press-Republican

May 3, 2014

Feline-rescue group at work in Plattsburgh

By ROBIN CAUDELL
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH  Focus on Ferals has rescued 10 cats from Rugar Park in Plattsburgh, many of them injured in snare traps.

“We have more to go,” organization President Rebecca Vaincourt said on Friday. "One of the cats brought in on April 25 had to have one leg amputated. 

"We got notice (Friday) one of the friendlier cats has to have part of its leg amputated.”

Vaincourt surmises the snare traps are intended for wildlife.

“The cats are getting caught in them,” she said. “This individual is aware there are free-roaming cats in the area. It should be common sense to know that these cats could be caught in these snare traps. 

"It's pretty heartbreaking.”

EXPANDED TO PLATTSBURGH

Focus on Ferals works to improve the lives of cats, one at a time.

Founded in 2011 by Vaincourt, Dianna Dumont and Laura Chapman, the volunteer organization has rescued about 400 cats in the Malone and Plattsburgh areas.

“We were established by a handful of people because we wanted to take care of the feral-cat population in Malone,” Vaincourt said.

“We recently expanded our services this year to the Plattsburgh area because we started to receive calls."

The organization is filling the void left after the closure of St. John's Feral Cat Fund, which for many years worked to rescue felines but shut down several months ago. 

The Focus on Ferals volunteer base increased, which allowed the expansion of services to the Plattsburgh area.

FOSTER CARE

The group traps, neuters and returns cats to their environment; in some cases, felines are made available for adoption.

“If we feel they are sociable, domesticated or adoptable, they are placed in foster care until we can get them spayed, neutered, vaccinated and tested for feline AIDs and feline leukemia, Vaincourt said. 

"They are also treated for worms, fleas and ear mites.”

PetSmart in Plattsburgh showcases some of those kitties in the store once they are ready for new homes.

PRICEY VET BILLS

To defray the increased veterinary costs due to the trap trauma, the organization has launched a campaign to raise $1,000 on Adirondack Gives, the Adirondack Foundation's funding site for nonprofits, community groups and municipalities.

“It runs for 60 days,” Vaincourt said. “The last day to take donations is June 27. We have this additional cost of taking care of their injured legs, and the one cat alone that had its leg amputated, it was a $600 bill.”

Rugar Park is just one sad situation Focus on Ferals has dealt with.

At one feral location, someone was injuring kittens.

“He was shooting at them with BB guns," Vaincourt said. "Unfortunately, one of the cats lost its eye, and one has a BB lodged in its neck at the moment.”

There is another cat colony at Indian Trails, an apartment-complex area, and a fairly large colony at a nonworking farm.

“People drop cats off to this barn,” Vaincourt said. “His numbers obviously multiplied. We've been working on that since last June. We've taken and spayed between 20 and 25 cats out of there.”

Email Robin Caudell:rcaudellpressrepublican.com

HOW TO HELP

Focus on Ferals welcomes donations to pay for veterinary costs for a number of cats caught in snare traps in Plattsburgh. 

To contribute, mail checks to: Focus on Ferals, P.O. Box 274, Brainardsville, NY 12915 or go to https://adirondackgives.org/campaigns/local-animal-abuse. 

As of Friday, the group had raised $140 of its $1,000 goal through the website. Learn more about Focus on Ferals at: http://www.focusonferalstoday.com