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Get Help with Ordinances
Communities all over the nation have adopted ordinances that promote Trap-Neuter-Return and protect cats. But there are still many ordinances out there that make TNR difficult and are harmful, even deadly, to cats.
You do not have to pass a law to do TNR, but if your town is considering passing an ordinance that helps cats—or if you want to change a harmful existing law—Alley Cat Allies has the tools to help. The resources below will help you make sure your community’s laws support TNR, and humane treatment of all cats.
For even more information, see our Cats and the Law page.
If an ordinance is being considered in your area:
- Advocacy Toolkit – This toolkit will arm you with the basics in citizen lobbying and prepare you to advocate for humane policies for cats.
- Learn your local laws with our strategies for How to Find Laws that Relate to Cats.
- Learn who makes and enforces laws relating to animals in your community with our Guide to Local Government: Animal Control.
- See model ordinances that Alley Cat Allies helped author:
- Baltimore Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – This 2007 ordinance, promoted by Alley Cat Allies and local supporters, champions community cats, their caregivers, and Trap-Neuter-Return in Charm City. It can serve as a model for other jurisdictions that are considering TNR legislation.
- Washington, DC Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – This 2008 ordinance requires the Animal Care and Control Agency to promote Trap-Neuter-Return as the way to manage the community cat population, provided that all efforts are made to adopt out any tamable kittens.
- Lafayette, LA, Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – Lafayette passed this strong TNR ordinance in 2017 with the goal of becoming a model community for animal protection. Alley Cat Allies advised on the ordinance’s language to ensure that it properly supported TNR efforts and caregivers. The ordinance includes a descriptive section about the TNR program and new definitions that call on shelters to prioritize TNR as the only humane and effective approach to community cats.
- Montgomery County, TX, Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – This 2016 ordinance, drafted with assistance from Alley Cat Allies, provides definitions and explanations that support Trap-Neuter-Return efforts, encourage Shelter-Neuter-Return, and ensure that community cats and their caregivers are protected. It’s a model ordinance for communities that want to start their own TNR program and get their shelter further involved.
- Richland, MO, Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – This 2015 ordinance was drafted with assistance from Alley Cat Allies and is the result of our work with officials, shelters, and community members in the area. The ordinance is strong in its simplicity; it provides straightforward definitions, lists protections for community cats and caregivers, and discourages the government from overregulating TNR.
- Cheyenne, WY, Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – This 2014 ordinance was both drafted and inspired by Alley Cat Allies. It is a basic ordinance, which is good, since overregulation and complexity can harm TNR programs. It provides simple definitions for TNR-related terms and specifies that citizens, organizations, city staff, and animal control can all carry out TNR
- Sebring, OH, Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – Alley Cat Allies assisted with the drafting and language of this 2016 TNR ordinance. It provides straightforward definitions of TNR-related terms that help protect community cats and their caregivers. It also clarifies that TNR is not abandonment and ensures that community cats are included among the animals legally protected from being injured or killed.
- Check out our Ordinance Drafting Guidelines for help writing good, effective ordinances. Remember, you do not have to pass a law to do TNR.
- Understand the ways ordinances can backfire. Learn more about harmful ordinances that push cats into shelters, and how to avoid them.
If you have been cited for violating an ordinance:
- Learn how to find and hire a lawyer for an animal-related issue –These suggestions will help you figure out if you need a lawyer, how to find the right kind of lawyer, how to hire a lawyer, and how much it will cost you.
- Know Your Rights: How to Talk to Animal Control – If you are approached by animal control about your position in caring for cats, it’s important that you understand your rights under the law so you can protect yourself.
- Please note that Alley Cat Allies cannot provide legal advice.
If you need more help with ordinances affecting cats in your community, visit our Get Help page.