New study from Alley Cat Allies finds that 331 counties and municipalities now support Trap-Neuter-Return
BETHESDA, MD—The number of local governments with policies favoring Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for outdoor cats has risen exponentially over the past decade, from just 23 in 2003 to 240 this year, according to a new report released by Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Additionally, 91 other counties now either support TNR or condone it as a valid method of animal control.
The report, the first comprehensive look at Trap-Neuter-Return policies across the United States, comes at a time when many local governments and states across the country are pondering TNR as a viable approach to stabilize feral cat populations. Under TNR, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor homes. Because there are no more new kittens, the colony’s population stabilizes immediately and decreases over time.
“Local governments are moving toward TNR because it works,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies, which spearheaded the TNR movement in the United States more than two decades ago. “For nearly 100 years the default system has been to catch and kill outdoor cats—an approach that is not only cruel but also highly ineffective, because when one set of cats is removed from a colony others move in. TNR is the only humane and effective method proven to stabilize and reduce cat populations.”
States with the highest number of TNR ordinances include New Jersey with 58, California with 33, and Texas with 29 ordinances, the report says. Major municipalities and counties that have adopted TNR include San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and New York City.
“This report is proof that our policies are finally catching up with our core values in this country,” Robinson said. “Americans love cats—and they don’t want millions of taxpayer dollars spent on killing innocent, healthy animals.”
Nationally, 70 percent of cats overall and virtually 100 percent of feral cats are killed in shelters. But polls show that most Americans do not support killing animals. For instance, a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by Alley Cat Allies found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 81 percent — believe that leaving a stray cat outside to live out his life is more humane than having him caught and put down.
In addition to local governments, two states, Illinois and Utah, and the District of Columbia, have enacted laws that support TNR, and others, including Florida, are pondering bills supporting TNR at their current legislative sessions.
For localities looking to add TNR to their animal control policies, the report includes recommendations on what to include in a TNR ordinance, including mandating the return of cats to their original colony location, and protections for cat caregivers.
More information on TNR can be found at the website www.CommonSenseForCats.org.
To see an advance copy of the report Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinances and Policies in the United States: The Future of Animal Control, please contact Vaishali Honawar at 240-482-2580 or at [email protected]
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.