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Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2013
Contact: VAISHALI HONAWAR, vhonawar@alleycat.org or (240) 482-2580; CATE SNYDER, csnyder@alleycat.org or (240) 482-3890

Alley Cat Allies Says Baltimore County Could Have Averted Rabies in Cat by Adopting Trap-Neuter-Return
Several Maryland Jurisdictions Endorse Safe and Humane Practice to Reduce Cat Colonies

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today called on Baltimore County to adopt Trap-Neuter-Return, a humane and effective program that includes vaccinating cats against rabies. The statement follows reports that an outdoor cat in the county has tested positive for rabies.

“Because cats are vaccinated when they undergo TNR, they do not contract rabies. But Baltimore county’s default has been to catch and kill outdoor cats -- which doesn’t help at all because when one set of cats is killed, another set moves in to take their place. Catch and kill can actually increase the risk of rabies spreading,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.

The Bethesda, Md.- based nonprofit also called on the county not to kill the remaining cats in the colony where the cat with rabies was found, but to quarantine and vaccinate them and release all healthy cats back to their colony.

Other Maryland jurisdictions have adopted TNR-friendly codes. For instance, the city of Baltimore and Kent County have passed ordinances that support TNR, and Prince George’s County just passed a bill that would protect eartipped cats—outdoor cats that have been spayed or neutered.

Nationwide too there is growing support for TNR--more than 330 local governments across the United States have adopted or endorse TNR, and two states, llinois and Utah, and the District of Columbia have TNR-friendly laws. More states are now considering similar laws. Throughout the nation, thousands of animal shelters and volunteers practice TNR in their communities.

In a TNR program, feral cats are trapped, neutered and vaccinated, eartipped for identification, and returned to their original outdoor home.

Despite the hyped-up media attention rabies receives, rabies control efforts are actually a public health victory—there were only 29 confirmed cases of rabies in humans in America from 2001-2011. None of those cases were known to have come from cats. There hasn't been a confirmed cat-to-human rabies transmission in more than 30 years. TNR of outdoor cats only reinforces that progress because all the cats in a managed colony are vaccinated.

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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.