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Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2007
Contact: ELIZABETH PAROWSKI, eparowski@alleycat.org or 240-482-1984; FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@johnadams.com or 202-207-1134

ALLEY CAT ALLIES AND LOCAL HUMANE GROUPS APPLAUD BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE FOR ANIMAL-FRIENDLY VOTE

BALTIMORE – Alley Cat Allies, the Maryland SPCA, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) and the Maryland Feline Society today commended the Baltimore city council’s subcommittee on housing, health and human services for voting to pass legislation that will help to greatly reduce the number of stray and feral cats killed in the city’s pounds and shelters each year.

“This legislation brings Baltimore’s policies in line with other major cities moving to significantly reduce the number animals being killed in local shelters,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda.

“We are proud of our city council today for recognizing the need for innovative, non-lethal approaches to managing the city’s outdoor cats,” said MD SPCA executive director Aileen Gabbey.

The subcommittee approved the legislation today following an October 30 hearing at which at least 20 individuals and groups testified in favor of changing the way feral cats are handled through the city’s animal control system. Currently, most stray and feral cats that are trapped by animal control officers are killed after a short period, either because of severe over-crowding or because – as in the case of feral cats – they are unsocialized to people and are unadoptable. The overwhelming majority of animals killed in Baltimore’s animal shelters are cats.

Studies show that this “catch and kill” method is far less effective at managing the outdoor cats than a non-lethal alternative called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). With TNR, feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and returned to their colonies. TNR ends the cycle of breeding and eliminates annoying behaviors associated with outdoor cats, such as yowling and fighting over territory.

“Feral cats are not companion animals and do not belong in shelters, and we are glad the public health committee has realized that catching and killing them is cruel and costly,” said Robinson. “TNR and high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter have been proven effective and are clearly the more humane choices to gradually reducing the number of outdoor cats in the city. This legislation is an important first step toward that goal.”

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the nation’s leading advocate for stray and feral cats. Their website is www.alleycat.org.