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      New program to curb cat population in Hannibal

      The canine population has gotten a little better in America's Hometown, but cats are a different story.

      The head of the Northeast Missouri Humane Society in Hannibal says the cat population has gotten worse.

      Kurt Groenda says there are a lot of empty houses in Hannibal, and a large number of feral cats have taken up residence in those structures.

      That's why the organization hopes a new program will help curb that problem.

      The Northeast Missouri Humane Society just started a foster/adopt program. Potential adopters pay a fee to take home kittens and puppies, then take them back to the shelter to get spayed or neutered when they're older. Then, the fixed animal goes back to the adopter's home for good.

      "We're able to get them out in a healthier situation rather than being cooped up in a kennel," Groenda said. "The benefit is to go ahead and get the smaller puppies and kittens out of here. We do run into cases of parvo with the puppies and upper respiratory with the kittens. If we could get them out of here while they're still healthy into a home situation, we have a better chance of not losing them."

      Marsha Davidson helped start the program.

      "I wanted to do something for the babies that are stuck in cages, and they don't have homes, and they're too small to be adopted out," she said.

      "Just because we're a small town doesn't mean that we don't have animals that need love, too, and we have a lot of animals that need love as you can see," said Groenda.

      The Northeast Missouri Humane Society is a kill shelter, which means the animals that are not adopted get euthanized.

      The shelter's annual fund raiser will take place September 29th at the Mark Twain Cave.

      Registration is $20.