MISSOULA - A local nonprofit that has been trapping animals under Missoula's Reserve Street bridge for months told MTN News on Thursday they need help.
"We're stretched pretty thin to take care of 101 cats," said AniMeals Rachel Taft, adding that the nonprofit is overwhelmed, "we've spent over $15,000 just in the reserve street project alone."
"People were feeding them down there, and the thing with cats is they'll go where the food is," Taft continued. "Cats can reproduce as young as nine months, so they multiply, and that's what happened with this colony...they multiplied."
Volunteers have returned to the bridge for months, setting traps, and rescuing cats.
"We've been feeding since November, but trapping since December," Taft said, adding that they were expecting to find about 20 cats, but in total they found more than 60.
Taft also said they re seeing an increase in surrenders, "it's bigger than what we've seen ever before, which is really too bad. People shouldn't have to give up their animal because of losing their housing."
She said evictions are forcing people to surrender their pets which is compounding the crowding at the shelter, "we need to help these people who are losing their housing and help their animals."
All of this is why Taft said AniMeals is asking for extra help from the community, "our goal is actually to work, instead of being reactive we want to be proactive, and work to create a pets of displaced individuals outreach program."
Taft says the organization is accepting monetary donations, and looking to work with volunteers, vet clinics, and boarding centers. People wanting to volunteer can stop by AniMeals at 1700 Rankin St, Missoula Tuesday through Sunday between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Find more info at https://www.animeals.com/.