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Erie Trap and Release

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Community Stories

97 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7 Carol141

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I called Toni , and she came out with her husband in March 2014 to rescue some feral cats , they rescued two, and will be back in April, or May to rescue more. Especially a mini kitty mama, and her babies ,she recently had. God bless Toni, and her husband Mike making a difference in saving lives of beautiful fur babies that are dumped off, or unwanted, they do wonderful work, and they care so much! I would recommend them to anyone who needs their help!

1 Michelle335

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful nonprofit organization. They work very hard to help decrease the cat population with little to no funding. They trap feral cats in rain, snow and sunshine getting them spayed and/or neutered along with their shots and any other medical need they may have and then re-release them where they found them as long as it was a safe environment. The kittens and non feral cats are found a temporary home until they can find a forever home. They show every cat/kitten what it feels like to be loved and cared for and work tirelessly to keep them healthy and happy.

2 Amanda194

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Erie Trap and Release is doing great work. They truly care about saving cats and kittens. I'm sure they often have to use their own money to get medical help for the felines.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have known Toni Smith for a year now. The love for cats is unbelievable !!!!! When I would of thrown in the towel she just keeps going hoping and praying for help ! To save a animal that's true devotion ! She has helped me with 3 of my cats to be spaded and neutered. And I have adopted 2 cats from her too. Who are very loved. She has always been there for any questions I have had and has always offered to help me and everyone who I have sent her way... She is an amazing loving person who is really trying to help control the over cat population !

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Erie is working hard to help as many cats and kittens as possible. They are small and put their heart and soul into getting so many spayed and neutered , then adopted when possible. They never stop, putting their own time and money into saving cats for as long as there is a need, that is why I support them! I'm not wealthy but even my small donations are appreciated and I know all the money will go to helping the cats and not to pay for professional fund raising.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Erie trap and release is wonderful and Toni is amazing at what she does and with helping stray and feral cats and kittens get home or get released if they need to be. She works to hard to give these cats a new chance at life!!! I have adopted a cat from her his name is Harley and he was a feral and after all the love and attention he needed to become a house cat she put all her time and energy into him and I couldn't thank her enough!! I ended up with the most loving and loyal cat I've ever had and to think about him ever being feral is crazy!!! So if anyone is looking for a cat or kitten please check out the cats ready for adoption !!!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I decided to get another cat because I didn't have enough(5). I can't drive anymore due to health issues, and Toni and Michael delivered Fluffy Tail to me in a snow storm. It took him a while to fit in, but he's an awesome addition to my furry family. I highly recommend if you are looking for a new addition to consider getting him or her from Erie TNR.

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

I started working for an office/warehouse on the lower west side four or five years ago. Before this job I really had no idea feral and stray cats could get this bad in a city like Erie. You'd expect this level of disaster in Detroit or after Hurricane Katrina...or out in the country, maybe.

Needles to say as an animal lover it was extremely depressing. People would get evicted or the houses would be condemned and people would just leave their animals behind. The problem is the animals would stay in or around the houses, and multiply like crazy, but then the city (or the weather) would demolish the house and then 10-15 cats would have no shelter with little warning. Cats would fight for territory, hurt themselves, get hit by cars in a frantic bid to find a new hang out....I can not stress how awful it was to sit in an office and watch this happen.

Employees and I would throw money at the problem, we'd take them to vets, to the ANNA clinics, we'd trap kittens and OA would take them. It was just a never ending situation, even with my boss and a few neighbors pitching in.

Finally after many many personal hours and resources spent by everyone here, we were JUST about to have our first kitten free summer in five years. (when you consider we were having 10-40 a year, and trying to trap, socialize, fix, a home every kitten.....that's alot of work) someone drove by and dumped a pregnant cat at the end of February.

No one would take her, I personally didn't have the resources to deal with it, and neither did anyone else at work. The cycle was going to start all over again, and it pretty much seemed all for nothing. There's really now way to describe the failure of 4 years of hard work plus at least a thousand dollars of my own personal money......all down the drain.

Out of desperation I was willing to call anyone I could google. When Toni said she'd take the cat if I could trap it I almost hung up expecting that she said no. I was like, I'm sorry, did you say yes? You heard I said she was pregnant, right? Toni said yes she understood.

I was so excited I parked all day for two days until I caught her, ready to pop at any minute it seemed, and dropped her off at Toni's house. Employees chipped in for the cost of the eventual spay.



THIS IS OUR FIRST KITTEN FREE SPRING/SUMMER IN FIVE YEARS!


I have been in Toni's house, and yes she has a bunch of cats in cages, and there's a certain smell to that no matter what you do. The cats are all well cared for and litter boxes clean. If she's ended up with one cats too many over the years, oh well. I understand and appreciate the laws here, but in our case....one cat would have been the start of another horrible expensive circle of violence where 20-20\30 animals suffer and die. It's not like she hordes them, she's doing the best she can in an overburdened system. Toni is very knowledgeable and works hard to get these cats homes so she can go out and save more.


As far as cats in dark basements, I can't speak to that. However in my experience in T&R feral cats can stroke out if caged for a prolonged period of time. I have often left ferals alone in isolation like that until I transport them or until they can be released. Very few people actually understand ferals, they're not just strays, but legitimately wild animals who want no human contact at all. sometimes when you see a cat that's feral, it's hard to understand they can't just be magically converted to a housecat.

what Toni & Mike do........it's a crappy job necessary to stop the problem. Not that shelters and organizations like ANNA or Orphan Angels could be called "glamorous", but they do get more PR, have more facilities at their disposal, and have more support than ETR, and what Toni does is just as equally as important as the work they do.

Our neighborhood would certainly be in very sad shape if not for her.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Erie trap and release are amazing. They work tirelessly to help cats. Not just with spay and neuter but with vaccination and finding them homes. We need more people like Toni❤❤

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so happy to see that something is being done to take care of the feral cat population. Some cats cannot be tamed but many kittens are being tamed and brought into loving families and enjoying a better life. The ones that are not tamable are given the freedom to roam and live in a safe place. Bless you for helping those that cannot help themselves.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known Toni and her husband for over a year now and they do a great job at rescueing, and caring for these kittens. They do get donations, but nearly enough to help them with the kittens. So they take money out of their own pockets to provide for the kittens they rescue, and to get them spayed or neutered before they go to their forever home. I am at their home all the time and I have never seen these kittens in any bad conditions, or being mistreated in any way. They are not out to make money what so ever! They do this out of the goodness of their hearts so these animals are not just roaming around the streets getting hurt. They nurse them back to health and find them good forever homes.

3 Cindy131

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have recently joined the board for Erie Trap and Release as Treasurer. I'm pleased to be able to offer my expertise because Erie Trap and Release is serving a need in Erie County that desperately needs attention. We have several very worthwhile animal welfare organizations in the county that are rescue and adoption focused in mission, but Erie Trap and Release is the only one that I am aware of with a primary mission of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Toni Smith and Mike Jones do find homes for adoptable cats that clearly have no owner, but the primary focus is TNR.

I have reviewed all of the financial records for Erie Trap and Release and I would like to share the information I found. From January 1, 2014 to April 9, 2015 Erie Trap and Release was able to get 42 females spayed and 61 males neutered. In addition, the cats were vaccinated against rabies, distemper and FVRCP, and additionally there were treatments for injuries and illnesses some of the cats had sustained due to living outdoors with no veterinary care. The total cost for the veterinary bills was $10,007.75. In addition, the cats recuperate with Toni after their surgeries so the organization also expended $4,128.68 for food, litter, supplements, fuel for the van used to transport the cats and supplies for trapping and housing the cats during recuperation. This totals $14,136.43. Their donations and revenue total up to the March 2015 checking account statement was $14,048.80. So, I believe the review that quoted Mike as "seeing dollar signs" was based on a misunderstanding; Mike was worried about being able to continue operating and the dollar signs he saw were for expenses, not income; these people are not in it for the money.

If the 42 females that were spayed as a result of Erie Trap and Release's efforts had each had a litter of 4 kittens (and this is a low estimate-statistics show a female can have up to 12 kittens in one year), there would have been 168 new homeless cats in Erie County! And it is well established through scientific study that there is an exponential effect to reproduction by non-spayed female cats.

According to Alley Cat Allies:

"Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats. Now in practice for decades in the US after being proven in Europe, scientific studies show that Trap-Neuter-Return improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time." (See http://www.alleycatallies.org/ for more excellent information about the positive effects of TNR)

Erie Trap and Release was established in May 2013 and are not investigated annually. There was one complaint made in the summer of 2014 that primarily concerned the number of cats being sheltered that was addressed to the complete satisfaction of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania and they have not been back.

I have been to Toni and Mike's home-there are no urine and feces on the floor and the few cats currently being housed each have their own litter box on the home's main floor and their own 3' by 3' enclosure for when they do have to be confined, a much bigger space than what I've seen in shelters due to their space constraints.

I would not be involved with this organization if cats were being abused or funds were being misused. I believe strongly in doing something about the feral and stray population as I am personally dealing with it on my own property. Because of Erie Trap and Release, my feral females are all spayed and I fully expect that I will have no kittens to worry about this year. If Erie Trap and Release is fully supported by our community and granting organizations, not only will feral and stray cats and our neighborhoods be helped, but there will be a positive impact on the other animal welfare organizations in Erie County. As feral colonies decrease over time, fewer and fewer will be brought to shelters. Then those shelters can find homes for adoptable animals.

All of Erie County's animal welfare organizations have important roles to play in the effort to solve the problem of unwanted animals. Please support Erie Trap and Release, a greatly needed and very worthwhile organization created by two people who are passionate about this issue.

Thank you!
Cynthia M. Duda
Director of Advancement Services, Gannon University
Volunteer Treasurer for Erie Trap and Release

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Toni and Mike are two of the most dedicated cat lovers that I have ever met. I have been trying to help my feral cat population for years and finally I have someone to go to so that I can get them sterilized and able to just live their lives out peacefully on my property without having babies once or twice a year. There are wonderful organizations here in Erie County PA, but none dedicated to ferals like this one. Toni and Mike put their hearts and their pocketbook into their life's work and they need support. Many of these cats started out as domesticated pets that were heartlessly dumped and are trying to survive.

3 Renee40

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I met Toni and worked with her for about a year. At first I really thought that she was a great person to help the feral and stray cats. Which I guess that she does the best that she knows how. She doesn't do or follow the rules of a proper rescue and is investigated yearly by animal control for she is more of a cat hoarder than a rescue. She and Mike have this thing of hitting it big and she even said that he just see's dollar signs. So my question is why would he see dollar signs??? I have been to her house inside many many times in the past and was very upset how the cats lived with feces everywhere and she had 15 cats living in her basement in the dark with no human contact but once a day she does go down and feed them and clean litter boxes. At that time she must of had 60 cats living in her house. After that I parted ways. So beware that's all I can suggest!!!!

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I called Toni about a mother and 3 kittens who are feral by my work. We started talking on the phone and then on facebook. I wanted to help so she asked if she could bring some of the feral cats down on my property so today I meet with Toni and her husband along with two beautiful male cats. Now they are living at my home outside where they will be safe, feed, and loved daily. Thank you Toni you are wonderful and got a huge heart.

Comments ( 1 )

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tigerpaws55 04/20/2015

I am the presdent of erie trap and release and what renne bradshaw is saying is not true we are not in this for the money we make no money and we hardly get any donations so were is the money to be made? there is no money to be made we are not in this for the money we are in it to help save more lives I love cats very much .no I am not a cat horder and no we do not have any cats in our basement as renne is saying .. renne bradshaw killed one of our cats by necgling to give him his insulin he went in to diabetic crash .I have all papers and proof from the vet that treat simey renne also killed our rabbit . she does not take care of her cats on her property . we offered to give her food to help with feeding them she refused the food .so please renne bradshaw stop the lies about us .

1 Lindsey28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got my beautiful twin boys from them. This is an awesome organization with an awesome cause! They are wonderful people who's passion for their cause just oozes from them! They took the time to explain my kitties stories and their individual personality. I highly suggest anyone who's looking to adopt a kitty, to go to them!

2 Cindy160

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had so many cats and kittens dropped off at my home and usually can care for them. But I had a mamma all of a sudden after 3 to 4 weeks decide that she wasn't going to care for her kittens. After trying all day to get her to care for them it was clear it wasn't happening. I messaged Toni on her Facebook page and told her my dilemma, she never even hesitated, she took them in and is caring for them. I can't tell you how much that is appreciated. Her and her husband are doing some much needed work, and I could tell after spending about a half hour with her that she also loves what she does.

1 Karin10

Donor

Rating: 5

words cannot express how much I appreciate all the hard work that the angels of erie trap and release do to keep the furry children safe, warm and most importantly loved. Toni Smith is a true angel who definitely deserves the title for her undying devotion to such a worthy case every day. She rarely gives up because she gives it her all that she has with not even a blink she is always there to help others. She deserves a special space in heaven she is like a living St. Francis who look after all the animals and for these reasons and so much more I nominate Erie Trap and Release they truly deserve it and then some!!!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

this organization gives so much to help out our furry little friends...Toni and her team are ANGELS OF MERCY everyday...they never ask for help only when needed!!!! Please recognize this organization because without them, I don't know who would after look them with all dedication, compassion and most of all love to the innocent fur babies of the world need that she helps. Their efforts never go unpunished...KEEP UP THE TREMENDOUS, GENEROUSITY AND LOVE YOU GIVE EACH AND EVERYDAY to make a better place for them to live in...I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart as I am looking at my 5 furry children with hair and tails.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful thing they are doing. All animals deserve a chance to live and have a family who loves them. You can tell That Toni really cares about these animals and wants them all to find their forever home. We got a great kitty and he will be part of our family forever.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Honest animal lovers here. Great experience start to finish. Kind and helpful. Would definitely recommend. They even met us half way to pick up our fur baby.

2 Holly51

Donor

Rating: 5

Erie is in great need of Erie Trap & Release, there is a large number of Feral Cats in Erie County and surrounding areas that will benefit greatly from this organization. Trap-Neuter and Return is the only humane way to take care of this problem. Only Adult cats are returned or relocated to safe Feral populations after they are spayed and neutered, The kittens will be adopted out to good homes. This will obviously cut down on the kittens being produced and help combat the problem. You can help by Volunteering and Donating. Thanks Erie Trap & Release for caring for these beautiful creatures,

~Holly Schwab Design

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We got our sweet kitten Jinxie from Toni and Michael. They met us halfway between their home and ours. We live in Toledo, Ohio. I wouldn't have my precious kitten if Erie trap and release didn't exist. Keep up the good work guys, you have my support always!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love animals and helping spay and neuter animals will cut down on the problem of too many animals, I have worked in the veterinary field for 3 years+ and this women is doing amazing things for sure, I donate when I can and I don't know why anyone would put her down for the amazing work she is doing bless her.

1 Paula58

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Toni is one big hearted woman!!
Erie Trap and Release has done wonderful work in helping care for and spay and neuter strays and ferals. Keep up the good work!!

1 Georgette N.

Donor

Rating: 5

THE WORK THEY DO IS FANTASTIC, AND ALWAYS WILLING TO HELP IF THEY CAN

2 Jackie46

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization helps the many strays in the area but trapping, neutering/spaying, and then releasing. Plus the continue to feed the cats that they fix and release. Their work Is priceless and they continue by educating the community the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I contacted Erie Trap and Release to assist me in humanely trapping and safely delivering a stray cat to a local no kill shelter. They are extremely professional and efficient. Toni and Michael went out of their way to make sure the animal was comfortable and well cared for throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend them! They are super to work with, are very dedicated to what they do and treat the cats in their care like family.