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Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 11, 2013
Contact: VAISHALI HONAWAR, or (240) 482-2580

Animal control officers, shelter directors, veterinarians gather in Virginia to reaffirm that Trap-Neuter-Return works

BETHESDA, MD—Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, wrapped up a three-day conference in Arlington, Va. at which more than 350 attendees from 37 states convened to hear experts and leaders from across the nation discuss the keys to success in implementing humane programs for community cats.

The conference, “Architects of Change for Cats,” was held Nov. 8-10.

“We convened our first national conference to demonstrate that, 23 years after Alley Cat Allies was founded in a Washington, D.C. alleyway, the movement to save cats’ lives is stronger than ever,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, in her opening remarks at the conference. “Trap-Neuter-Return has officially moved into the mainstream. More than 350 local governments across the country support it, and increasing numbers of animal pounds and shelters are seeing that it works. But there is still much more work to be done. Far more cats than dogs are still entering shelters, where seven out of 10 are likely to be killed,” she said.

At the conference, more than two dozen animal control officers, shelter leaders and feral cat advocates shared their major successes in abolishing the failed “catch and kill” for feral cats—cats who are not socialized to people and can’t be adopted into homes—and embracing Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR, a program in which cats are humanely trapped, sterilized and vaccinated for rabies at a local veterinary clinic, and returned to their outdoor homes.

Speakers noted that TNR has been demonstrably effective in stabilizing and reducing the population of feral cats in their communities, and it has provided enormous cost savings to taxpayers because fewer healthy animals are entering shelters and being killed there.

“If you try to change the status quo, there are bound to be policymakers or leaders who misunderstand your intentions and try to block you—until you make the economic case. Once they see the bottom line, they’ll support you,” said Susan Cosby, Executive Director of the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia and a featured speaker at the conference.

“We don’t have to apologize for what we are doing. What we are doing is making a difference,” said Mike Arms, President of the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

For more information about the conference, including a full list of speakers, visit For a comprehensive summary of the conference program, see #AlleyCatConf on Twitter.


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. Its website is