Memphis Animal Services plans to humanely take on stray animal issue

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As summer weather sets in, more stray dogs and cats may be roaming neighborhood streets.

There is actually an increase in stray animal sightings when the weather gets warmer. The city is working toward a solution, even though it may not be in a way residents notice.

The number of posts on social media about stray animals has been higher than normal, but one post in particular was striking. The post described a pack of at least 15 cats and more kittens roaming streets in the Grahamwood area.

While WREG did not find a gang of cats terrorizing residents, some people in the area agreed stray animals are an issue.

“They’re everywhere," said Ashley Jones, a Grahamwood area resident. "They hang out on the fences and torment my dogs. They pee on everything. The dogs are constantly going crazy."

Memphis Animal Services said it is working harder and more efficiently than ever to help. Their approach isn't just as simple as capturing and euthanizing.

“What science and research have told us is that if we remove cats from your community, but we don’t fix what causes them to be there in the first place, you’re just going to have more cats move in," MAS Director Alexis Pugh said.

Everyone involved seemingly wants a solution that does not involve the loss of life, but to get the stray animal problem under control, it takes a community effort.

“That’s what we want to be, not just the place that the animals come, but the place that the people come," Pugh said. "To get help, guidance and support to make our whole community pet-friendly and a place where animals and people live in harmony.”

Jones said she's happy knowing MAS wants to fix the problem.

“It’s good that they’re doing that, but it’s on us," she said. "People have to respond to it."

MAS has some creative, cost-efficient strategies for dealing with stray animals.

  • Do not feed stray cats or any animals that might visit your home
  • Keep a tight lid on all trash or waste outside your home
  • Communicate with your neighbors – if anyone is feeding the cats or giving them attention, they may be encouraged to return
  • Use citronella spray or natural orange peels around your yard or garden — cats hate the smell and will stay away.
  • Call Memphis Animal Services at 901-636-7297 – while they might not directly come and take the cat out of your area, they will work on finding a peaceful solution

— By WREG's Peter Fleischer

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