$18K grant to help Veneta manage feral cats

      VENETA, Ore. - The City of Veneta received a two-year, $18,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.

      The money will be used to help deal with approximately 500 feral cats living within the city.

      Many business owners and residents have opened up their wallets and doors in the last few years to deal with the problem.

      Paula Rutledge, who works at Dari Mart, estimates she feeds between six and seven strays each day.

      "Me and my coworkers collect money and we also spend money out of our own pocket, and go down to BiMart. We get a bag of cat food because we feel so sorry for them," says Rutledge.

      Teresa Warrick, the city's code enforcement officer, says her goal is to spay or neuter approximately 300 cats over the next two years. Each surgery costs around $50.

      "Our volunteer organization Veneta Friends of Ferals will be able to help residents and deal with problem areas, trap them, and get the animals to the local veterinarians that are participating," Warrick explains.

      Warrick says once they are spayed or neutered, they will be returned to their habitat. She hopes homes can be found for some of the kittens and more social animals.

      Veneta hopes to begin using funds from the grant February 1.

      There will be a meeting January 9th, from 6 to 7 pm at the Veneta City Hall, for those interested in joining the volunteer effort.

      Greennill Humane Society estimates that Lane County has between 15,000 to 20,000 feral cats.