Alley Cat Allies submitted the following letter to the City Council of Granite Shoals, Texas, before its regular meeting on January 9, during which the city’s approach to community cats was a key topic. Late last year, a horrific discussion between the Granite Shoals City Manager and Wildlife Advisory Committee about shooting, poisoning, and mass killing community cats sparked outrage within the Granite Shoals community and beyond.

Alley Cat Allies spoke out against the disturbing comments and attended the meeting, and we are offering our expertise and support in establishing a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program in the city. The City Manager and committee member who suggested the cruel lethal schemes against cats resigned, and the door is open for city law and policy to center humane approaches to benefit cats and the community. The Granite Shoals Police Department and local advocates have spoken, and the city knows that killing community cats is contrary to the law and the compassionate values of residents. TNR is the only way forward.

We are determining the best way to protect Granite Shoals’ cats and implement the most effective TNR program, and we’ll keep you updated on our progress.

On behalf of Alley Cat Allies and our supporters in and around Granite Shoals, I am writing to urge your support of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for community cats, or unowned cats who live outdoors, in the city.

Alley Cat Allies is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of all cats. We have promoted evidence-based and compassionate policies for cats since our founding in 1990, and we regularly work with lawmakers, shelters, and the public to change attitudes and advance lifesaving laws and policies that best serve the interests of cats and communities.

Through TNR, the only humane and effective approach to community cats, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped for identification, microchipped, and returned to their outdoor homes. TNR is evidence-based, sound public policy that benefits cats by improving their health and ending the breeding cycle, which stabilizes community cat populations. It also improves residents’ relationships with cats, as they will no longer find kittens outdoors or experience cat mating behaviors such as yowling, spraying, and fighting.

Additionally, TNR reduces calls to animal control, reduces the number of cats impounded and killed in shelters, and reduces taxpayer expense, all while meeting the demands of the public for effective, meaningful, AND lifesaving action for cats in their communities. TNR works, while lethal schemes do not. Alley Cat Allies, like many, was shocked and disturbed by the Wildlife Advisory Committee’s suggestions last year to shoot, poison, and mass kill cats. Killing or otherwise removing cats from their outdoor homes has proven ineffective around the world due to a phenomenon known as the Vacuum Effect.  While removal may temporarily reduce the number of community cats, the population quickly rebounds as surviving cats move in to take advantage of the newly available food and shelter. The Vacuum Effect has been scientifically observed in many species.

Alley Cat Allies appreciates the statements from Chief of Police John Ortis and others acknowledging the importance of the ethical and legal treatment of animals, including community cats. Indeed, if Granite Shoals seeks to manage the community cat population, then TNR is the only humane and effective solution. Shooting and poisoning cats is clearly cruel, contrary to law, and unacceptable to the community.

Alley Cat Allies offers our support in establishing an effective TNR program in Granite Shoals. We’ve helped hundreds of communities implement successful TNR programs and policies and would be happy to assist the City of Granite Shoals. We hope to hear from you soon.