Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson sent the following letter to the Jefferson City Council in Iowa in opposition to a dangerous new amendment to the city’s animal control ordinance. The measure, if passed, would continue Jefferson’s history of endangering the lives of community cats and discouraging constituents from providing care that benefits cats and the community.
June 8, 2021
Dear Mayor Gordon and Members of the Jefferson City Council,
I am writing to you today regarding a newly proposed ordinance addressing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and feral cats you are discussing at tonight’s council meeting. Since we have spoken in the past, I wanted to reach out once again and offer Alley Cat allies’ assistance.
While I am encouraged that Jefferson is moving to support the humane, effective approach of TNR rather than to continue to sanction the killing of cats, the proposed ordinance contains overreaching mandates which would actually discourage participation in TNR, to the detriment of cats and your community.
Standards for feeding and cleanliness of colony sites are unreasonable to mandate and impossible to enforce. Broad education and robust outreach are the proven approaches to concerns about colony care, not heavy-handed legal requirements.
While many TNR advocates care for and find adoptive homes for kittens with their own time and money, doing so should never be required by law. Under this ordinance, many caregivers may feel compelled to remove young kittens from their mother cat, despite the fact that she is the best possible caregiver for a kitten to thrive.
Requiring caregivers to register colonies and provide their contact information to the city is invasive, exposes them to risk, and will effectively discourage your constituents from practicing TNR. Once they have disclosed and reported the location of their colonies, to then tell caregivers that the city will “seize or remove” cats should they fail to comply with the above requirements, or if cats are deemed a “nuisance” and not removed within a mere 48 hours, is the ultimate deterrent from caring for cats and kittens. This section of the ordinance is the most alarming and has the most potential to perpetuate the killing of cats against the will of your constituents and at their expense.
The ordinance as it stands is ineffective and dangerous. Alley Cat Allies’ ordinance samples are models you can use to overhaul what is currently written, to protect cats and kittens and develop a vigorous TNR program in your community.
Alley Cat Allies is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of all cats through its innovative, cutting-edge programs. We have worked with hundreds of communities to draft TNR ordinances that protect cats and the community. I have previously provided a model ordinance to you, as Jefferson has discussed community cats for a few years. I am proposing that we work together to draft language that will support and enhance Jefferson’s TNR efforts.
President and Founder
Alley Cat Allies