BETHESDA, MD – Alley Cat Allies was saddened to learn of the passing of AnnaBell Washburn, age 90, one of the early leaders of the movement that would go on to establish Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the mainstream approach to community cats, sometimes called feral cats, in the U.S.Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, knew Ms. Washburn for many years. She remembered the profound impact of their relationship on a personal level, and expressed the great loss this represents for the entire movement. Ms. Washburn was influential as Alley Cat Allies got its start as the first national organization to advocate for community cats and promote TNR.

“AnnaBell’s passing is so sad for all of us who revered her for her courage and compassion to do something new to save cats’ lives,” Robinson said. “Her prominent leadership in the 1980s validated the determination by groups of people everywhere who were quietly practicing TNR on their own. She inspired us to join together and make an even greater impact than we could as individuals.”Ms. Washburn had great success in the 1980s neutering community cats, starting on Martha’s Vineyard. She later recruited the Tufts veterinary school to help establish a program on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands that gave veterinary students hands-on training in spaying or neutering 50-100 cats at a time. Significantly, she used this collaboration with Tufts to push for the inclusion of Trap-Neuter-Return in the DVM curriculum of many other veterinary medicine colleges. Those teaching innovations still resonate today, as engagement from the veterinary community has become a critical factor in the success of TNR programs.

Ms. Washburn had great success in the 1980s neutering community cats, starting on Martha’s Vineyard. She later recruited the Tufts veterinary school to help establish a program on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands that gave veterinary students hands-on training in spaying or neutering 50-100 cats at a time. Significantly, she used this collaboration with Tufts to push for the inclusion of Trap-Neuter-Return in the DVM curriculum of many other veterinary medicine colleges. Those teaching innovations still resonate today, as engagement from the veterinary community has become a critical factor in the success of TNR programs.When her work was featured in Cat Fancy magazine in 1990, it prompted an enormous, enthusiastic response from the army of people who were conducting their own, similar efforts to help cats, including Becky Robinson.

When her work was featured in Cat Fancy magazine in 1990, it prompted an enormous, enthusiastic response from the army of people who were conducting their own, similar efforts to help cats, including Becky Robinson.She lived in New York City, where she was widely known and respected among animal rights, advocacy and rescue organizations. Yet her notoriety reached far beyond the city, and she was seen as the matriarch of an entirely new way of thinking within the animal rights movement.

She lived in New York City, where she was widely known and respected among animal rights, advocacy and rescue organizations. Yet her notoriety reached far beyond the city, and she was seen as the matriarch of an entirely new way of thinking within the animal rights movement.“AnnaBell’s diligent work set the stage for people to change their attitudes about cats and stop killing them,” Robinson continued. “Her legacy is an inspiration to people all over the world who carry on with the life-saving work that she began.”

“AnnaBell’s diligent work set the stage for people to change their attitudes about cats and stop killing them,” Robinson continued. “Her legacy is an inspiration to people all over the world who carry on with the life-saving work that she began.”

(Note to editors: Robinson conducted an interview with AnnaBell Washburn just two years ago, and that video is available for your use at: https://youtu.be/sO7nWoW2Fgc.)

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