Operation Amoruso --
a TNR Success Story

Way out in West Lincoln.

There's a small nearly anonymous community thriving in the middle of the endless flat ranchland. If you take a wrong turn on your way to Thunder Valley Casino you may stumble across what used to be known as Toad Hill, now simply known as Amoruso Way. Amoruso Way stretches for one mile, breaking up the barren ranch landscape with an abundance of lush trees and about 100 homes on well-kept small acreage lots. The residents of Amoruso Way savor their little secret and boast a low crime rate, friendly neighbors and community events like the Annual 4th of July Fireman's Breakfast followed by a parade where the floats are pulled by lawn tractors. Many families have horses, cows, sheep and other livestock on their rural property. All in all, an ideal place to raise a family. They even have their own community church - the First Church of the Garage.

But Amoruso Way had a problem that many neighbors weren't aware of. For several years generations of unaltered cats had been living amongst the community, residing in barns and other outbuildings. They survived on rodents, stolen food from residents' pets and the handouts of a few kind people. But no one took responsibility for "owning" the cats and they freely bred until they were noticed as a neighborhood nuisance. Diane Hilbert, the unofficial "Mayor" of Amoruso Way and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator saw the problem and saw how it was getting worse when the 2007 kitten season arrived.

Command Center in Diane's barn

Diane contacted FieldHaven and volunteers immediately got to work on Operation Amoruso. Thanks to FieldHaven's SNAP (Spay Neuter Assistance Program), funded by PetSmart Charities, we were able to commit to financing the spaying and neutering of all of the cats and kittens. We could also provide equipment (traps, cages, etc) and transportation to the spay/neuter clinic. What we were short on was the people-power to trap, recover and care for the cats and we could not provide relocation for any of the adult feral cats. Residents didn't mind caring for the altered cats, especially because they provided terrific rodent control.

Kittens in a foster home

Rescued kitten with young girl

Diane communicates almost daily to FieldHaven volunteers, including SNAP coordinator, Maryanne Sehl, the status of the project. Early on, Diane began trapping a number of kittens. Most were healthy but there were several that came from 2 very malnourished moms. After establishing we weren't dealing with FeLV or panleukopenia, FieldHaven foster mom, Penny Dougherty, became the ICU "nurse" to give these sick kids a chance. Penny does an outstanding job and has an excellent track record of tiny saved lives to show for her round the clock dedication.

Yvonne Morales became the primary foster mom for healthier kittens, especially those needing socialization. Yvonne does such an excellent job with socialization that her first Amoruso litter of 6 kittens were all adopted the first day they were presented for adoption!

Back-up foster moms, Marty Sutton and Susanne Munkdale take in the overflow that Yvonne and Penny don't have room for.

About a month into the project another Diane entered the scene. Diane Cochran has foster experience and jumped in to help Diane H. Diane C. helps with trapping, recovering and caring for trapped kittens until being transferred to FieldHaven foster homes.

Diane and Diane

Diane C. Trapping

The quote "It Takes a Village" couldn't apply more with Operation Amoruso. The Amoruso "village", especially Diane H and Diane C, FieldHaven staff and volunteers, Animal Spay/Neuter and PetSmart Charities (for providing the funding) have all come together to bring the cat population problem under control.

It seems as if what was once known as Toad Hill could now be called Cat Hill.

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FieldHaven Feline Center - 2754 Ironwood Lane - Lincoln, CA 95648 - (916) 434-6022 - - Federal Tax ID #30-0240425
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