In the state of Virginia, Alley Cat Allies is raising awareness and educating the community about outdoor cats, community cat colony care, Trap-Neuter-Return, and advocating for humane policies for all cats.

Virginia Animal Control & Shelters Can Support Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Virginia State Law* allows local shelters and animal control agencies to follow recognized best practices in sheltering today. It allows them to:

  • Facilitate a TNR program.
  • Recommend alternatives to shelter intake for healthy community cats brought to them and instead direct the individual to a private organization that operates a local TNR program.
  • Leave eartipped cats in their outdoor homes unless sick or injured.

Private non-profit organizations or volunteer TNR groups can operate a humane TNR program independent of animal control or a local animal shelter.

Best practices in animal shelters today include, counseling people who report community cats about the effectiveness of TNR and offering alternatives to shelter surrender.

Your local ordinances and/or animal services contracts may differ. Need assistance interpreting the law or changing local policies? Contact email: info@alleycat.org or call 240-482-1980

Animal control and local shelters can support and participate in TNR, so long as they aren’t returning impounded cats.

Read the Virginia Attorney General Opinion on Trap-Neuter-Return

Trap-Neuter-Return in Action

These communities in Virginia are already making TNR work for them:

  • Fairfax, VA–the Fairfax County Animal Shelter has operated a successful TNR program for almost ten years. The shelter coordinates the trapping of the cats, loaning out traps to volunteers, and provides funding to the Potomac Spay Neuter Clinic, which does the actual treatment on the cat. The cat is then given back to the trapper who returns the cat to her colony.
  • Arlington, VA–Community cat caretakers trap the cats and bring them to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. The surgeries and vaccination are then performed at the league by the on-site veterinary staff. Afterwards, the cats are picked up by the caretakers and returned to their outdoor home.
  • Charlottesville, VA–the Charlottesville/Albemarle SPCA offers free TNR services to community cats living in the area. The SPCA also educates individuals on proper trapping methods.
  • Lynchburg, VA–the Lynchburg Humane Society, which runs the local animal shelter, operates the “City Cat Fix Spay/Neuter Program.” Through private funding, the organization offers free spay/neuter and rabies shots to all types of community cats. In 2015 alone, they fixed 1,736 community cats! It also offers traps as well as education on trapping.