Despite huge public outcry and opposition from more than 12,000 advocates, the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) has not backed down on its determination that the city’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program be “revisited and reassessed” in its newly released 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.
Alley Cat Allies mobilized hundreds of advocates to provide comments and criticisms on the draft Plan earlier this year, but the DOEE has chosen to push forward with its proposed reevaluation of D.C.’s community cat policy and TNR programs. The Wildlife Action Plan has an anti-TNR bias and insists, based on incomplete and faulty evidence, that “free-ranging cats damage bird, mammal, and reptile populations”.
TNR is the only humane and effective way to approach the community cat population, improve cats’ lives, and benefit the community. Other methods–like trapping and taking cats to shelters–will only lead to more cats being killed and trigger the vacuum effect, causing an endless cycle of trapping and killing. Though cats are mentioned just briefly in the Plan, the proposed “revisiting and reassessing” could have a negative impact on the TNR programs D.C. has long supported.
However, until there’s a change in the law, TNR will continue as usual in D.C. despite the Plan. Alley Cat Allies will work alongside local groups like the Washington Humane Society to continue fighting for D.C.’s cats, and to keep the capital a model for humane policies. We will keep you updated on next steps and progress.