UPDATE—March 1, 2018
Advocates, cats, and kittens were all in attendance at last Sunday’s celebration at Rude Ranch Animal Rescue in Anne Arundel County, making it a huge success.
Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson and Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso gathered with advocates—and cats and kittens, of course—to commemorate the passage of an ordinance that removes barriers to Trap-Neuter-Return, as well as the expansion to Rude Ranch’s Spay Spa & Neuter Nook, for which Alley Cat Allies provided a $50,000 grant.
Both Grasso and Robinson praised Bob Rude of Rude Ranch and his team for the oridnance’s success. “I don’t want anybody to think that I’m the credit for any of this,” said Grasso. “It was [Rude’s] team of people coming to me. And I just navigated it through.”
“I think the reason we’re here is because of tenacity,” Robinson told the group. “There are people who give everything, and they don’t give up.”
ORIGINAL POST—February 23, 2018
There’s so much to celebrate for community cats and their advocates in Anne Arundel County. On Jan. 2, 2018, the county council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that removes barriers to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), thanks to the tireless work of Bob Rude from Rude Ranch Animal Rescue, Suzanne Goll, Councilman John Grasso, and countless community cat caregivers, supporters, and nonprofits like Alley Cat Allies.
On Sunday, Feb. 25, Rude Ranch will host a celebration to commemorate the passage of this bill, as well as the expansion to Rude Ranch’s Spay Spa & Neuter Nook, for which Alley Cat Allies provided a $50,000 grant. In the last five years, Rude Ranch has spayed and neutered 30,000 cats at this venue. Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson and Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso will cut the ribbon on the expansion.
“I’m so happy to be on hand and help Anne Arundel County celebrate the incredible strides it is making to protect the community cats in this county,” Robinson said. “This is an example of the great things that happen when lawmakers, animal control leadership and local advocates join forces to improve the lives of cats in the community, and we have been so thankful to be part of this incredible coalition.”
This is an especially sweet victory for Rude, who has been working to pass TNR legislation since 2001.
“It’s a big positive change for people involved with TNR,” says Rude. “It shows how much persistence it can take to change minds.”
In July 2017, he brought in the big guns, otherwise known as Councilman John Grasso. “I went to John Grasso because I knew he was a politician who has compassion for animals and children,” explains Rude.
Not only did Grasso introduce the bill, he also raised awareness about community cats and TNR throughout Anne Arundel County, on social media and in the news.
“I said whatever you want to protect the bill and the animals, just put it in writing and I’ll get it through,” Grasso says. “I especially appreciate the bill because I have feral cats.”
Community cat caregivers and people who practice TNR say they expect the ordinance to make quite an impact in Anne Arundel County. TNR is the only humane and effective approach to manage community cat populations.
“I am hoping this new bill will open communication and options for citizens to quickly address community cat populations with TNR,” says Marion Hosmer, a TNR practitioner and coordinator who often works with Rude Ranch. “And that there will be more resources available, like getting trained in TNR, so that less kittens will be born.”
Caregiver Georgianna Gross feels more at ease taking care of community cats with this ordinance. “We now have the legal right to handle the situations the way we feel is proper,” she says.
Gross is also pleased about the expansion of Rude Ranch’s Spay Spa & Neuter Nook. The more options that are available to support caregivers, she notes, the better.
Rude Ranch averages about 7,500 spay and neuter surgeries per year, with a capacity for 10,000. The expansion is a welcome addition that will allow them to do 20,000 spay and neuter surgeries per year.
Rude is seeking to get someone to run the day-to-day operations of the Spay Spa & Neuter Nook so that he and his associates can expand the program, now that TNR is officially permitted in Anne Arundel County. At the moment, he is looking to do more targeted TNR in areas around moderate-income housing developments, which have a great need.
There has been so much good work surrounding community cats in Anne Arundel County, not just today, but years before this ordinance passed. Sunday’s celebration will bring together these incredible advocates who have been helping community cats in many different ways.
Suzanne Goll, who helped with the entire process of turning the bill into a law, says she’s celebrating the way the bill has made people aware of community cats and TNR. “Awareness and education [are reasons] to celebrate,” says Goll. “It took a long time to build it, but we did it. And Alley Cat Allies helped us from the beginning.”