PLANT CITY – More than 40 feral cats from Pinellas County were spayed or neutered, thanks to a volunteer effort by veterinary technology students at Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City campus.
Students assisted in performing multiple surgeries for 2 1/2 hours at the school at 1206 N. Park Road. It was the first time the program has participated in such a large effort, said Dr. Vince Centonze, a veterinarian who heads the campus’ vet tech program.
He said that veterinarians from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center and the SPCA participated in the project.
“Not only is this for the students but it’s also a community effort in that it brings different elements of the community together to get this done,” he said. He said students gained valuable experience through the project. “It helps them to become veterinary technicians,” he said The project was supported by MEOW NOW, a Pinellas County based organization dedicated to managing the overpopulation of feral, also known as community cats.
“We cannot possibly express out appreciation enough,” said Cathy Unruh with the organization, praising the school and the students’ work with the cats. She said the organization was established in 2014 and practices the method of TNVR or Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return. She said it is the most effective and humane method of controlling overpopulation of feral cats.
During the project each cat was anesthetized, neutered or spayed, vaccinated, and given time to recover from the procedure. After their recovery, each cat will be returned to their community.
For more information on the overpopulation of feral cats, go to www.meownowfl.org.