MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Although South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill in May that recognizes trap, neuter and return as a way to take care of feral cats, the feral cat population in Myrtle Beach continues to grow.
Many feral cats roam the streets of Myrtle Beach, but where do they come from?
“Feral cats aren’t feral because they want to be feral,” said Lindsey Rankin, one of the members on Grand Strand Humane Society’s board. “They’re feral because a human let them down, and a human put them out and didn’t take care of them.”
One of those feral cats, Frank, made his home at the Little River Welcome Center for six years, but Tuesday afternoon, Rankin got word that his shelter was removed.
Grand Strand Humane Society volunteer Kerry Schwanz says Frank is just an example of how feral cats don’t live like domesticated ones.
“It reflects part of the bigger issue of what are we doing in our community to be part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem,” said Schwanz.
“We have a huge pet overpopulation problem in the state, it’s a state-wide level, and actually it’s a national crisis now,” said Rankin.
Schwanz says the community should start looking at helping feral cats in a better light.
“Look at Little River as a really cool community that has a welcome center cat, you know, to welcome tourists and visitors, and it may attract people, as opposed to making it something that’s bad,” she said.
Most people think feeding the cats will help the problem, but Schwanz says it makes it worse.
“They will tell me, oh you volunteer at the Grand Strand Humane Society, I feed these homeless cats, I help them with, you know, food and water, and one of my first questions is are they spayed or neutered,” she said.
Schwanz says a South Carolina bill that would trap, neuter and return feral cats could also help reduce the number of feral cats.
“I think it starts with awareness,” she said. “Helping people understand and become more aware of the issue and the problem in the community and how they can help and be part of the solution.”
The petition to help Frank get his shelter back at the Little River welcome center got more than three thousand signatures before it was removed today.
The trap, neuter and return bill still needs Governor McMaster’s signature to become law.