- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) - Almost every night, Jane Kosek feeds a group of seven feral cats at Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park near Sycamore in hopes of eventually trapping them.

Kosek is the president of Fixin’ Feral Felines, a DeKalb-based nonprofit organization that provides medical attention to feral cats and then often releases them back to where they were found.

About 200 cats were found last spring at Evergreen Village, 955 E. State St. near Sycamore, and Kosek estimated the colony is now down to about 150 cats.

“People in the trailer parks always feed them,” Kosek said. “Now they don’t have any food, because people are moving out. I have permission from the county to feed them. … When I show up at night, they come running.”

Evergreen Village has one of DeKalb County’s largest feral cat populations because there is plenty of shelter underneath the trailers, Kosek said. Now that demolition has begun at the flood-prone mobile home park, volunteers with Fixin’ Feral Felines are working to spay and neuter more of the cats before winter.

Meanwhile, demolition continues at Evergreen Village, but county officials remain focused on relocating families who live in the 40 or so occupied trailers, Planning Zoning and Building Director Paul Miller said.

Crews are currently testing units for asbestos and plan to have all residents moved by mid-December.

County officials recently met with the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb regarding the conditions at Evergreen Village.

“I have not heard any complaints about feral cats,” Miller said. “We meet regularly with the housing authority. I didn’t hear a thing about cats.”

Kosek started Fixin’ Feral Felines about 12 years ago. She was fostering cats from TAILS Humane Society, 2250 Barber Greene Road, DeKalb, and when she asked why shelters regularly get so many litters of kittens, she was told that nobody in the area deals with feral cats.

She houses feral, or wild, cats in her DeKalb home and books appointments for them to be spayed and neutered. The cats also recover at Kosek’s home.

On Monday, Kosek had eight feral cats in her home. She used to help about 500 cats a year, but said health problems have forced her to scale back her efforts; she now helps about 300 cats a year.

Kosek, 63, said she has had a number of health issues over the past three years, including pancreatitis, and is considering retiring from running Fixin’ Feral Felines at the end of next year.

“We don’t know if anyone will take it over,” Kosek said. “It won’t end, but at least we’ve made a difference.”

The DeKalb County Animal Shelter, at 16173 Baseline Road in Genoa, does not take in feral cats because they are wild, so they refer feral cats to Fixin’ Feral Felines, said Roberta Shoaf, president of the DeKalb County Animal Welfare League.

“It is invaluable to help stray cats in the county,” Shoaf said.

Fixin’ Feral Felines receives a 50 percent discount for medical services at Prairie View Animal Hospital, 24 Rich Road, DeKalb. Feral cats frequently have issues with diarrhea, upper respiratory infections and ear mites, said Prairie View Animal Hospital Veterinarian and co-owner Dennis Biemer.

“(Kosek) provides a valuable service for the community that nobody else provides,” Biemer said. “It’s a unique service that would be unmet if she didn’t do it.”

“We don’t know if anyone will take it over,” Kosek said. “It won’t end, but at least we’ve made a difference.”

The DeKalb County Animal Shelter, at 16173 Baseline Road in Genoa, does not take in feral cats because they are wild, so they refer feral cats to Fixin’ Feral Felines, said Roberta Shoaf, president of the DeKalb County Animal Welfare League.

“It is invaluable to help stray cats in the county,” Shoaf said.

Fixin’ Feral Felines receives a 50 percent discount for medical services at Prairie View Animal Hospital, 24 Rich Road, DeKalb. Feral cats frequently have issues with diarrhea, upper respiratory infections and ear mites, said Prairie View Animal Hospital Veterinarian and co-owner Dennis Biemer.

“(Kosek) provides a valuable service for the community that nobody else provides,” Biemer said. “It’s a unique service that would be unmet if she didn’t do it.”

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Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/1qoquvI

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Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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