$1,600 Raised for Trailer Park Kitties and Their Kin

ESSO volunteer Sandy Mayer holds a trailer park kitten during last Sunday's fundraiser at Chesapeake Bay View B&B. (Wave photo)

ESSO volunteer Sandy Mayer holds a trailer park kitten during last Sunday’s fundraiser at Chesapeake Bay View B&B. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

November 19, 2013

Three local cat lovers have formed a new spay/neuter organization after a previous service lost its non-profit status. ESSO, short for Eastern Shore Spay Organization, aims to humanely control the Cape Charles cat population.

Sharyl Cline, Pete Bauman, and Sandy Mayer are well known to residents of the Historic District for their cat rescue efforts. Now they are formalizing their work with a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. And fortunately for the group (and the Town), Mayer’s husband, “Dr. Hank,” has the financial expertise to file the required paperwork.

An ESSO benefit at the Mayers’ Bed & Breakfast, Chesapeake Bay View, raised $1,600 last Sunday to help folks with cats in need of fixing. The first project is the area around the old trailer park on Madison Avenue. Although most of the trailers were removed earlier this year, the trailer cats stayed behind.

Cline said the trio use a method called TNR — trap, neuter, and return. The adult trailer park cats are what Cline calls “hard strays.” “I don’t like to use the term feral cats, but rather hard strays. Hard strays are cats that will only come to someone who feeds them,” she said.


Hard strays don’t adopt well. They are used to their independence and don’t want to change. ESSO traps the strays, fixes them, and then returns them to their habitat.

Trailer park kittens are a different story, and three of them are going to the SPCA shelter in Virginia Beach in search of homes.  The kittens have to cross the Bay because the SPCA shelter in Onley is full.

The ESSO volunteers are also targeting a burgeoning cat population near Rayfield’s Pharmacy. But they point out that kind-hearted residents who feed stray cats aren’t really helping the problem. The more cats are fed, the more cats there are.

Bauman and Mayer feed a number of stray cats, but they make sure those cats get spayed or neutered.

Readers wishing to make a contribution can contact ESSO at [email protected].



9 Responses to “$1,600 Raised for Trailer Park Kitties and Their Kin”

  1. Pete Baumann on November 19th, 2013 7:54 am

    Thanks Dorie/The Wave for attending Sunday. It is important for local folks to know that we will not only support efforts to curtail the feral cat population, but we also plan to provide logistical and financial assistance to cat/dog owners who need help getting their pets spayed and neutered. Here’s to healthy and happy pets!

  2. Kathleen Bahri on November 19th, 2013 8:21 am

    A great initiative – thanks for reporting it, and good luck to ESSO!

  3. Sandy Mayer on November 19th, 2013 10:50 am

    Thank you Dorie for your report and generous support of ESSO, thank you Dr. Leslie Nelson, our new local vet, and thank you to everyone who attended and helped with our food and silent auction. Please like us on Face Book. Thanks again!

  4. Karen Gay on November 19th, 2013 12:46 pm

    I’m so glad that a group has formed to neuter the stray cats. Many thanks to Sharyl, Pete and Sandy for a great effort.

  5. Sharyl Cline on November 20th, 2013 12:20 am

    Thank you Dorie and Cape Charles Wave for covering our first fundraiser. Informing people about ESSO and TNR is so important for the health of all the stray cats in the area. We don’t want to forget the dogs. S/N (spay/neutering) reduces the risk of several types of cancers in booth cats and dogs. S/N also addresses some behavioral issues that cause people to surrender their pets to Animal Control.

    It is the mission of ESSO, Eastern Shore Spay Organization, to provide low cost/no cost spay and neutering for the cats and dogs on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and to educate residents on how to manage stray/feral colonies and on the importance of early S/N for the health of the cat/dog.

    Please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eastern-Shore-Spay-Org/503280643100794

  6. Wayne Creed on November 20th, 2013 10:58 am

    Pete has always been one of our best advocates for our stray or feral cats. My cat (she has been spayed) has several feral “buddies” that hang out with her on our porch, and I always wondered how to go about getting some of these guys in a program like this. An occasional “Feral Cat Tips” article in the Wave from ESSO would be fun and informative for folks like me that enjoy these feral guys, but need some more information on how to help manage them.

  7. Sharyl Cline on November 20th, 2013 6:42 pm

    Wayne that is an excellent idea. I’ll see what we can do. You picked up on the key word – manage. Most of us love these cats and want to do what is right for them. Managing a colony keeps them healthy and happy.

    In the meantime you could visit us on Facebook at
    I’ll be posting the SNIP van schedule on our Facebook page. There will also be posters around town.

    We have 2 traps in Cape Charles for situations like this. The hard stray/ferals need to be in a cage or transfer cage for the SNIP van. S/N surgery and a rabies shot will help keep these cats healthy and happy.

  8. Scott Wade on November 21st, 2013 11:43 am

    To clarify, the reason the Onley shelter is full is that they are a no-kill shelter. The one in VB isn’t. That’s why it has room, they put down animals. This is from personal experience of taking stray cats to the VB shelter.

  9. Sandy Mayer on November 23rd, 2013 11:29 pm

    I rescued a really friendly cat from Onancock. He had a tick between his toes which cost $83 to remove. He was limping — $128. Neuter and rabies $30. But for a $241 investment I got a very friendly super cat who now needs a home. Eastern Shore SPCA said no room at the shelter — take him to animal control. This is not an acceptable alternative. Animal control will kill him.

    Our no-kill shelter will not help with homeless animals because they do not have a way to place them except for a $125 adoption fee. Granted this includes shots, tests and neuter. This is one of the reasons we are trying to continue to offer low cost spay/neuter to residents of the Eastern Shore. I have called the Eastern Shore SPCA for the 3 kittens in my care. They are not accepting any animals. What is the alternative? Luckily I placed 2 of them in a good home.

    The Virginia Beach SPCA also works with Pet Smart and PetCo to place animals for adoption. I have delivered more than 30 kittens to Virginia Beach SPCA this year. To the best of my knowledge they have all been adopted. I don’t understand the point of a no-kill shelter if they won’t accept animals and only send them elsewhere to be killed.