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Battling overpopulation of cats in Jackson County, not much Animal Control can do

In addition to overpopulation in Jackson County, it's also kitten season, in Phoenix, Oregon, on Friday, May 19th, 2017 (KTVL/Ariana Rakhshani).

MEDFORD, Ore.-- Jackson County has been battling an overpopulation of cats for years.

Barbara Talbert, the Shelter Manager at Jackson County's Animal Shelter, said unlike dogs, cats are not regulated by the county.

"People call us with the expectation that we're the county, we should do something about it," Talbert said. "The truth is--there's nothing we have to do. There is no law that says we have to step in and take these cats."

Even if there were regulations, she said they would be nearly impossible to enforce.

"It's pretty complicated because if you come after someone and they'll say, 'that's not my cat, that cat lives outdoors,'" Talbert said.

This is how cats fall through the cracks. Despite that, she said the problem is not necessarily the cats, but instead the people who feed them. She said if you feed feral cats, you are accountable for them, and should get them spayed and neutered.

"If they can't get the cats fixed, stop the feeding," Talbert said. "And I know that sounds really cruel, but it's only going to get worse if they're not willing to spay and neuter."

The only regulations to enforce on cats have to do with their welfare; for example, if a cat is starved or the owner does not clean up after their animals.

Talbert said spays and neuters can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. There are several places you can get them performed on your animals, like from your veterinarian, or SNYP, the Spay/Neuter Your Pet Program.

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