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Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2012
Contact: ALISON GRASHEIM, media@alleycat.org or (240) 482-1985; FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@kellenadams.com or (202) 207-1134

ALLEY CAT ALLIES: LIBERTY, MISSOURI CONVICTION OF FERAL CAT CAREGIVER IS ‘A TRAVESTY’
Community Good Samaritan fined for providing Trap-Neuter-Return, a public service

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today said it was extremely disappointed by the conviction of a woman in Liberty, Mo. who was caring for feral cats in her community, including spaying and neutering the cats as part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

The woman, Annette Betancourt, was charged with violating the city’s “limit law,” even though she did not “own” the feral cats found living outdoors when she moved into her neighborhood. Betancourt had been volunteering as part of a TNR program for several years, using her own money to neuter and vaccinate the cats. She stabilized the population, and no new litters of kittens were born. She was fined $200 by the court for her actions.

“This verdict is a travesty,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “TNR is the only humane and effective approach to feral cats. Annette is a Good Samaritan who was wrongly punished for providing a valuable community service.”

Robinson said the jury in the case was disadvantaged by the Clay County judge’s decision to limit testimony that would have educated the jury on the practice of TNR in other jurisdictions. TNR is embraced by numerous communities across the country to effectively stabilize and reduce the feral cat population.

“Alley Cat Allies stands behind Annette, as we stand behind all caregivers in this growing national movement,” said Robinson. “We will continue to work tirelessly to protect and defend their rights, just as they work in their communities to protect and improve the lives of cats.”

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.