For 10 years, Baltimore, Maryland’s landmark Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program has saved countless cats’ lives. The program is a resounding success and a model for communities around the nation. Now, the Baltimore City Health Department’s Office of Animal Control has been asked to speak at a hearing to explain how TNR benefits citizens and community cats.

On Tuesday, September 26, the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee is holding an informational public hearing on Resolution 17-0042R to “discuss feral cats in Baltimore and whether the City’s current approach to feral cats [the TNR program] should be modified or remain the same.”

Alley Cat Allies is calling on citizens of Baltimore to tell the committee how TNR is vital to their community, and why it should be celebrated and protected. Baltimore residents can attend the hearing in person and provide written testimony and/or oral testimony in support of the TNR program. Anyone unable to attend the hearing can submit written testimony ahead of time.

The City of Baltimore enacted its landmark TNR ordinance in 2007, with support and guidance from Alley Cat Allies. The ordinance remains one of the strongest and most effective in the nation, but it took years of hard work to put it in place.

Initially, a city ordinance prevented caregivers from caring for colonies and conducting TNR. Alley Cat Allies formed a coalition with the Maryland SPCA, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), and the Maryland Feline Society to change this. Under our leadership, the coalition approached Baltimore’s Mayor and Health Department and successfully encouraged them to revise the ordinance’s language and support the community’s TNR efforts.

We also worked closely with the community, providing hands-on seminars and workshops for caregivers and residents interested in TNR. Because of our efforts together, Baltimore’s community cats continue to enjoy the protection and vital services TNR provides.

Baltimore’s TNR program proves how public officials and non-profit groups can work together to protect and improve the lives of community cats. Alley Cat Allies will stand by Baltimore citizens in championing this lifesaving program.