With Alley Cat Allies’ expertise and assistance, the city of Tulsa in Oklahoma is working to overhaul its animal shelter and animal control code to protect more animals, including community cats.

Alley Cat Allies has been working with local advocates T-Town TNR and provided language for a new ordinance to support Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and community cats throughout Tulsa, the second most populous city in the state.  Now, the city is inviting residents to complete a survey and comment on the proposed changes until August 31.

The new ordinance includes definitions of TNR, community cat, and community cat caregiver as well as a whole new section about community cats and the best practices to protect them.  It specifies that community cats, whose home is the outdoors, are not subject to “at large” laws, that caregivers are not the owners of these cats, and that TNR is not abandonment.

The ordinance’s language also specifically supports the practice of TNR by both Tulsa residents and Tulsa Animal Welfare, the city’s animal protection organization. Most importantly, it states that TNR shall be the “preferred disposition,” or the city’s go-to approach, for community cats brought to animal shelters.

Under the new ordinance, community cats could be quickly returned to their outdoor homes instead of remaining in the shelter, where most would likely be killed because they are not socialized to people and are unadoptable.

These changes are an enormous step toward creating a community that protects, improves, and values the lives of all cats, whether they live indoors or outdoors. Alley Cat Allies will continue educating and talking with elected officials and working alongside advocates and residents to make these changes official.

If you live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, please take the survey and comment in support of these code changes and check out the city of Tulsa’s website for more information.