Right now, both houses of the New Jersey legislature are considering lifesaving “Compassion for Community Cats” bills that would give statewide access to funding for Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR), also known more simply as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), which is the humane and effective approach to community cat populations.

Alley Cat Allies is rallying people across the state to reach out to their legislators and ask them to sign on to sponsor and support the companion bills, Senate bill 1034 and Assembly bill 4399. If you live in New Jersey or know someone who does, please visit our Action Center to take action now.

If passed, the bills will provide TNVR support and progressive protections for community cats that will serve as a model for states across the nation. Most prominently, the proposal would redirect money from an unused, defunct fund into a new state fund to provide start-up grants that would help cities, towns and counties to establish TNVR programs.

The proposal also exempts community cats from a seven-day hold requirement in shelters in order to facilitate TNVR. Rather than being held unnecessarily in a stressful shelter environment, the cats can be returned outdoors right away after they are spayed or neutered through a TNVR program.

In New Jersey shelters, and shelters across the nation, cats are killed far more than any other animal. Community cats, who are not adoptable because they are not socialized to people, are especially at risk. The longer they stay in a shelter, the greater the danger they will be killed.

By eliminating the hold period, the proposed bills would help to stop the killing—and generate taxpayer savings by removing the cost of housing cats in a shelter for a week.

On top of supporting TNVR, the proposal will officially require shelters, rescues, and pounds to spay or neuter cats prior to placing them up for adoption. This is a best practice that improves the health of the cats and helps to end the breeding cycle.

The “Compassion for Community Cats” bills would be a major positive step toward ensuring more cats and their communities across New Jersey can reap the benefits of TNVR. It would lead to a decrease in kittens born outdoors, a better relationship between community cats and people, and fewer cats killed in shelters…at taxpayer expense.

This is New Jersey’s chance to strengthen its commitment to saving cats and to reflect the humane values of its communities through state policy. Alley Cat Allies will provide updates on the status of this proposal as it moves forward.

If you are in New Jersey or know somebody who is, write to your legislators today.