On April 16, the council of Richland County, South Carolina, considered passing a dangerous amendment to remove the county’s Community Cat Diversion Program. The program is a successful Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) initiative that has saved thousands of cats’ lives. Alley Cat Allies mobilized advocates in Richland County to speak out to protect TNR in their community, and the vote was deferred.

We will continue to monitor the situation and defend TNR and community cats in Richland County.

Residents of Richland County sent the following letter to their councilmembers outlining the lifesaving power of TNR and their dedication to their cat community members

“As a resident of Richland County, I urge you to OPPOSE the removal of our Community Cat Diversion Program from our animal ordinance. Please take the proposed ordinance change off the agenda at the April 16 hearing. The Community Cat Diversion Program has already saved thousands of cats’ lives with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), and I voice my strong support to protect it.

TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats, in Richland County and everywhere. Through the TNR process, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, eartipped for identification, and returned to their outdoor homes.

As sound public policy, TNR benefits cats by improving their health and ending their breeding cycle, which stabilizes community cat populations. TNR also reduces cat mating behaviors such as yowling, spraying, roaming, and fighting and reduces shelter intake, killing of cats, and calls to animal services—all of which save taxpayer dollars and improve our community for all.

People in our county dedicate time, money, and energy to our Community Cat Diversion Program because we care deeply for our cat community members and know that TNR is the only positive way forward. That is why I ask you again to oppose its removal.

In fact, I would like to see further support and expansion of our Community Cat Diversion Program rather than actions that threaten it needlessly. It is very important to me that our county prioritizes humane care for cats.”