Augusta, Kansas is coming to the big screen.
As reported on by The Times-Gazette in 2017, Sue and Ray Jones of Augusta will be prominent figures in “Catnip Nation,” a documentary focusing on the issue of 90 million feral cats in the streets of America and humane solutions to phasing out cat colonies.
The documentary is an official selection for the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita and will play 3:45 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday at Wilke Family Center, 330 S. Broadway, Wichita.
The Jones’ story is one that culminated in a three-day jury trial from May 1-4, 2018 after the couple had been cited numerous times for providing food and water to a colony of cats in an alley behind their downtown Augusta business. When Tina Traster, director and co-producer of Catnip Nation along with editor Lenon Nersesian heard about the Jones’ legal struggle over this issue via social media, she reached out.
“We came to Kansas multiple times, spent time with the Jones’ and their family and colleagues, and followed the whole case through the court,” Traster said “Their portion of the story takes us through that case.”
Traster’s documentary is also a selection for the Kansas International Film Festival in Kansas City, and has already won best documentary twice this year at other film festivals, according to the film’s Facebook page.
The Jones’ will get to see it for the first time this weekend, Sue said.
“To be on film in a documentary is a little daunting, but it is okay as long as the message is well-received and the point in understood,” she said.
After an unsuccessful attempt to have a trap/neuter/release program instituted in Augusta several years ago when she was on the city council, Sue Jones said she has been working on revising the city ordinance for animal control. The revision includes a T/N/R program as means of controlling the cat population, as opposed to euthanasia.
“It is really a call to a problem that is going on everywhere,” Traster added. “There is a lack of any uniform policy or legislation. It is a call for action and to get the animal community mobilized and working with their local governments. T/N/R really works best when you have the cooperation of a local government.”
More information, including a trailer for the documentary, can be found at www.catnipnation.com