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Paige Cassidy and Madison Taynor saw a problem in their town and found a way to solve it.

Last October, the North Ridgeville, Ohio, Cadette Girl Scouts began a trap-neuter-return (TNR) project for stray and feral cats in response to the Scouts’ Silver Award challenge.

The Cadette Silver Award requires scouts to use their leadership skills to solve a problem in their community.

Cassidy and Taynor both had neighbors who inspired them to address the stray cat situation in their town. One neighbor had kicked a pet cat out of their house and banished it to outdoor life, and another set of neighbors were feeding the stray cats that visited their yard. While doing their preliminary research on ways to help stray cats, the girls learned about TNR.

As Cassidy, age 13, and Taynor, age 12, started to put together their plan, they approached Nancy Winrod, the owner of a local dog bakery, and asked for some ideas on how to proceed. Winrod suggested they contact veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Dean.

Dr. Dean offered to perform two free surgeries to get the girls started on their program, and Winrod invited the scouts to fundraise at the next event at her shop.

Cassidy and Taynor then got in touch with Love-a-Stray Rescue and the Cleveland Animal Protective League for advice on trapping stray and feral cats. The APL invited the scouts to come to their facility for training in TNR and offered to perform spay/neuter surgeries for only $25 per animal.

Love-a-Stray Rescue informed the girls about the importance of giving the cats a safe place to recover after their surgeries and agreed to house each post-op cat until it was well enough to release. The more socialized cats have been put up for adoption and the ferals have been returned to their colonies.

To raise funds, Cassidy and Taynor made token ribbons to sell at Woofstock, and Petco let them sell the ribbons at its Avon store for two days. Two area groomers allowed the girls set up fundraising stations in their establishments.

Ultimately, the scouts ended up raising more money than the goal they had set for themselves and have trapped, neutered, and adopted out or returned almost twice as many cats they had hoped to help.

Both girls have earned their Silver Awards, but they plan to continue with their TNR program until they run out of money.

[Source: Examiner.com, Cleveland]