Meet the NYC Feral Cat Initiative Team: Evon Handras

Evon had a chance to snuggle with Broadway star, Vito Vincent, at Jill Rappaport's PIES4PAWS Challenge™ at the NYC Re-tails & Sales Expo on National Feral Cat Day 2014. (Photo by Francesca Carson)

Evon had a chance to snuggle with Broadway star, Vito Vincent, at Jill Rappaport’s PIES4PAWS Challenge™ at the NYC Re-tails & Sales Expo on National Feral Cat Day 2014. (Photo by Francesca Carson)

Evon Handras, Director of Administration and Liaison to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, joined the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals in 2007. Her primary focus was to administer Maddie’s Spay/Neuter Project in NYC, which was a multi-year Maddie’s Fund grant aimed at making free and low-cost spay/neuter widely available to low-income families and individuals. The program increased steadily over the years thanks to the strong partnerships with our city’s non-profit clinics: the ASPCA, The Humane Society of New York, and The Toby Project, as well as the increased participation of many private practice veterinarians. The final phase of the grant included funding for the spay/neuter of community cats, which was an important development in increasing awareness of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) at the community level. “It was wonderful to build relationships with local veterinarians who understood the importance of the program,” explained Evon.

Since then, the Alliance has applied for and received additional funding aimed at supporting the TNR community. Evon works with the Alliance’s Director of Development to implement and manage these grants, which include a multi-year ASPCA TNR and Adoption Support grant.

Evon also is a part of the Alliance’s NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) team. She responds to inquiries from the public, whether from individuals looking for information or assistance, or agencies or businesses that are looking to address a community cat issue. A long-time advocate for community cats, she sees this as “an incredible opportunity to educate people and create awareness about the specific needs of these cats.” Supporting the Certified TNR Caretaker community is also an important component of Evon’s position, and she communicates regularly with veteran and newly certified caretakers on all aspects of working with community cats. She considers herself fortunate to be a part of a progressive and focused network of individuals and organizations who put so much heart into what they do.

Helping community cats is not new to Evon. Long before she began working with the Alliance, she was feeding and rescuing stray and feral cats (and the occasional stray dog) in her Queens neighborhood. She signed up for a TNR workshop and began volunteering with local TNR and adoption groups, including Francis’s Friends and SaveKitty Foundation.

Evon’s own learning experiences about TNR and the difference it makes in controlling community cat populations and improving community relations has made her empathetic and patient with folks who are unaware of TNR. She is a firm believer in getting information out to people in a real grassroots way, whether by offering TNR workshops or by simply posting informational flyers. Evon hopes to expand TNR training to all NYC neighborhoods and claims that it is her “personal goal that there be at least one Certified TNR Caretaker on every NYC block.”

Alliance Participating Organizations, Cats, Feral Cats & TNR, Maddie's Fund, Spay/NeuterPermalink