Officials in Lafayette, LA, adopted a strong new Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) ordinance in August, taking a big step forward in its goal to save more cats’ lives. Alley Cat Allies is proud to have been part of this effort.

On August 11, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux approved a law that overhauled the city’s animal control code to allow for a TNR ordinance and program. A final version of the ordinance is available online. It officially declares TNR the city’s “preferred method” and includes a section that details the steps to TNR and protections for those who carry it out.

According to the ordinance:

  • Shelters should refer every community cat they take in to a TNR program
  • Caregivers can reclaim community cats from shelters without paying fees
  • Trapping cats is banned except for conducting TNR

The ordinance also includes definitions for community cat, community cat caregiver, and TNR. This makes it clear that community cats should be allowed to live freely in their outdoor homes, and that TNR is not abandonment. With these changes, Lafayette caregivers now have the much-needed support to conduct TNR. This will keep more cats out of the city’s shelters, where many of them—especially community cats who are unadoptable—have been killed.

“This ordinance represents a significant milestone in our initiative” to save more cats’ lives, said Mayor-President Robideaux. “I am very pleased we had overwhelming support of the measure. With the ability to institute a TNR program, our community now joins model shelters who are successfully …[and] humanely [addressing] the community cat population.”

Alley Cat Allies worked with the Lafayette community for the past year to help bring about this lifesaving change. In March 2016, nonprofit animal welfare organization Target Zero reached out to us and to other groups for advice in amending Lafayette’s animal control code to allow for TNR. Since then, we have provided language for the TNR ordinance, reviewed changes, and helped address concerns from the community.

We are delighted to see all the hard work come together in this model ordinance that will transform Lafayette and serve the best interests of its cats and citizens.