Guide/How-to| Cats and the Law, Trap-Neuter-Return

Before a new local law is passed, the city council or county commission will hold a hearing to discuss its merits. This is your chance to speak out for cats and explain why you oppose or support the ordinance. You can send written testimony to the council or commission and/or you can present your testimony at the hearing.

Check out our sample public testimony template to get started

Download: Word file

Hello, my name is ______ and I am a resident of ______.

First, I want to thank ______ and the council for allowing this dialogue. I am a fervent supporter of Trap-Neuter-Return (or TNR) because it is the only humane and effective approach to community cats. I’d like to use this time to briefly explain who community cats are and why TNR needs to be supported in our community.

Community cats, also called feral cats, are unowned cats who live outdoors. Animal control’s outdated approach to community cats has been to catch cats and bring them to a shelter where they will be killed because they are not socialized to people and therefore unadoptable.

Catching and killing cats creates an endless, expensive cycle of cruelty that wastes taxpayers’ money. Removing cats from an area is futile because it results in population increases as an influx of new, unsterilized cats move into the same area to take advantage of available resources and reproduce. This well-documented natural phenomenon is known as the “vacuum effect.” Rather than continue to kill healthy animals year after year at our expense, it’s time for [CITY/COUNTY] to consider Trap-Neuter-Return.

TNR effectively stabilizes the community cat population because it stops the breeding cycle. During TNR, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (which shows they’ve been part of a TNR program), and returned to their outdoor homes. TNR makes community cats healthier because they are vaccinated, and the stresses and behaviors associated with mating stop. Enclosed in the materials I have provided, you will find multiple scientific studies proving the effectiveness and benefits of TNR.

[Next consider discussing how TNR & community cats impact you personally: How are you involved with community cats? Why do you believe TNR is the best approach to community cats? How will your community benefit from TNR? Remember, keep your statements positive, truthful, and on topic].

Hundreds of communities have adopted an official TNR ordinance or policy, and thousands more conduct grassroots, volunteer-led programs. These numbers continue to rise as more communities realize the outdated approach of catching and killing cats is cruel and ineffective. It’s time for the cats and residents of [CITY/COUNTY] to experience the long-term benefits of TNR firsthand.

I urge you to support TNR in our community.

Thank you.