Tall, barrel-chested Rick DuCharme doesn’t look, sound or act like your typical cat hero. When announcers at animal welfare conferences use words such as “cat savior” and “vanguard” to describe the founder of Jacksonville, Fla.’s revolutionary Feral Freedom program, the attendees are surprised to see 44-year-old DuCharme walk on stage.
When his voice booms into the microphone and he says that his groundbreaking program is saving thousands of felines and could save millions more around the country, he turns heads.
But DuCharme insists that it’s the results of his innovative and life-saving efforts that should be in the spotlight, and he prefers to let the numbers do the talking: Since August 2008, his Feral Freedom program has saved more than 8,000 feral cats (also known as community cats) that would have otherwise been euthanized, it saves the city of Jacksonville $150,000 annually, and it has helped increase the adoption rate of shelter cats by 50 percent.
**Get the June 2010 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article.**