Group hopes to sterilize 200 feral Gwinnett cats

A local rescue organization hopes a new grant will help quell the number of cats killed at the Gwinnett County animal shelter — by allowing them to sterilize feral felines and releasing them back into the world.

Planned PEThood of Georgia announced Wednesday its new grant, which will cover the cost of spaying or neutering 200 feral cats in Gwinnett. Effective immediately, Planned PEThood officials said, Gwinnett County animal control employees will alert anyone that brings a feral cat to the shelter about its new "TNR" program, in which felines are trapped, neutered and returned to their original location.

The animals will also receive vaccinations and flea treatments before being re-released.

The goal is to reduce kill rates at the shelter by reducing overcrowding, and to "free up funds to help adoptable pets find new homes," officials said.

"We're very appreciative of the progressive stance that the county is taking to help the community," Planned PEThood executive director Elizabeth Burgner said in a news release.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that Gwinnett County has seen reduced euthanasia totals in each of the last several years.

»MORE: Photos: Dogs available for adoption at the Georgia SPCA