Alley Cat Allies sent the following letter in support of Rhode Island HB 7075, which will support and protect Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in Rhode Island.
Learn why TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats at alleycat.org/TNR.
February 1, 2024
The Honorable Robert E. Craven, Chair
House Judiciary Committee
Rhode Island General Assembly
Providence, RI 02903
RE: IN SUPPORT OF HB 7075
Dear Chair Craven and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of Alley Cat Allies and our more than 6,400 supporters in Rhode Island, I urge you to support HB 7075, An Act Relating to Animals and Animal Husbandry – Animal Cruelty. If enacted into law as it is currently written, this bill will support and protect the only humane and effective approach that is saving cats’ lives and saving taxpayers’ money statewide: Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
Alley Cat Allies is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of all cats. We have promoted evidence-based and compassionate policies for cats since our founding in 1990, and we regularly work with lawmakers, shelters, and the public to change attitudes and advance lifesaving laws and policies that best serve the interests of cats.
Today, your constituents are volunteering their time and resources to carry out a solution for your communities and the cats of Rhode Island. Practicing TNR, a program in which community cats—unowned cats who live outdoors—are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped for identification, and returned to their outdoor homes is a win for the cats, the community, and local governments. Without TNR, populations of cats outdoors do not stabilize and many of these community cats are impounded and then “euthanized” (i.e. killed) in shelters at the expense of the taxpayer. That is because community cats are generally not socialized to people and therefore not adoptable into indoor homes.
The primary intent of HB 7075 is to promote TNR by exempting the program from the definition of abandonment. Please see Section 4-1-26 (d)(1) and (d)(2):
(d) It shall not be considered abandonment, and the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and of § 4-24-8 shall not apply to any person who traps unowned feral or free roaming cats, causes those cats to be spayed or neutered, and subsequently releases those cats, provided:
(1) Any medical or surgical procedures performed on those cats are performed by a licensed veterinarian; and
(2) The cats are returned to the property where they were trapped.
We strongly support this language within the bill because it aligns with the original intent of the bill and provides an important clarification for those who do not understand the benefits of TNR. Cats are not abandoned during TNR; they are returned to their outdoor homes where they live and thrive. In fact, TNR programs improve the lives of cats, and this amendment recognizes that fact. Thanks to TNR, cats and people can better coexist because the cats no longer exhibit behaviors associated with mating and then caring for litters of kittens, and they are vaccinated for rabies.
TNR is the mainstream approach to community cats and is unquestionably the present and future of animal control and animal sheltering in the United States. We are a nation of compassionate people who, when given a choice, consistently favor laws and policies that do not bring harm or death to cats.
We urge you to Support HB 7075 on behalf of your constituents, our supporters, and Rhode Island’s community cats. Thank you for supporting this important bill.