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For Immediate Release: April 22, 2014
Contact: JOHNNIE SIMPSON, media@alleycat.org or (240) 482-3895

ON WORLD VET DAY, ALLEY CAT ALLIES SAYS VETERINARIANS ARE KEY TO SAVING THE LIVES OF OUTDOOR CATS
Veterinary Support Critical to the Nationwide Success of Trap-Neuter-Return, Humane Community Programs

BETHESDA, MD–As humane community programs for feral cats grow more prominent nationwide, Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for cats, is marking World Veterinary Day (April 26) by recognizing veterinarians for the critical role they play in the success of these programs.

“Without the support of veterinarians, Trap-Neuter-Return could not have caught on so broadly across country,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Vets put the ‘N’ in TNR.”

In a Trap-Neuter Return (TNR) program, feral cats, also called community cats, are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and eartipped—the tip of the left ear is removed while the cat is anesthetized to identify the cat as neutered and vaccinated. After a short recovery period they are returned to their outdoor homes.

TNR works by ending the breeding cycle and stabilizing community cat populations. Today, thousands of American communities have implemented TNR, and more than 350 local governments endorse TNR as official policy, including major cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque and Washington, D.C.

In many of these cities, animal control agencies and local animal shelters have implemented additional lifesaving programs—such as neutering before adoption and providing low-cost spay/neuter services to the community—that reduce the overall number of healthy cats entering shelters.

“These major programs would not be possible without the veterinarians and veterinary technicians who work or volunteer in spay/neuter clinics or accept feral cats into their practices,” Robinson says. “But we can still do more to enlist the support of vets nationwide, and that is why Alley Cat Allies is on a mission to increase awareness and education throughout the veterinary community.”

In December, Robinson launched a speaking tour to veterinary schools about TNR, first visiting the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In January, Alley Cat Allies presented and exhibited at the North American Veterinary Community Conference, the largest veterinary conference in the nation.

Alley Cat Allies also sponsors spay/neuter laboratory trainings throughout the country to provide hands-on experience for veterinarians in high-volume spay/neuter procedures and to teach the special techniques needed to care for feral cats.

A number of tools for veterinarians can be found on Alley Cat Allies’ website, at www.alleycat.org/veterinarian. In addition, veterinarians who support TNR are encouraged to sign an online pledge.

World Veterinary Day was launched in 2000 by the World Veterinary Association. It is celebrated each year on the last Sunday in April.

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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 over 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 www.alleycat.org.