Update: October 9, 2018
The University of Illinois-Springfield Student Government Association is holding an open forum with university administration to discuss its policies toward community cats.
Alley Cat Allies is urging our supporters to attend the meeting and stand up for cats. The meeting is on Wednesday, October 10 at 8 p.m., located at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Student Union, Second Floor (Ballroom).
The meeting is open to university students, staff, and the community. It is urgent that people attend, as the university has already started to remove cats from campus.
Just months after approving Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) at the University of Illinois-Springfield campus, officials have suddenly halted the program.
The university told caregivers that they can no longer carry out TNR or care for cats on campus, citing health and safety concerns. Those concerns are unfounded. Alley Cat Allies is urging Illinois residents to reach out to university officials and persuade them to reinstate the TNR program, which has been very successful.
Since the TNR program began in April, many cats have been spayed or neutered. As thousands of communities that have carried out TNR already know, community (also called feral) cats are not a public health risk. They receive veterinary care and vaccinations against rabies and other diseases as part of the program.
TNR is the only humane and effective approach to stabilize community cat populations and stop the breeding cycle. Through TNR, community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (the universal sign a community cat is part of a TNR program), and returned to their outdoor homes.
Without TNR, the cats at the University of Illinois-Springfield will likely be rounded up and taken to shelters. This often happens in communities that don’t have TNR programs for community cats. Most community cats are killed in shelters because they are not socialized to people, cannot live indoors, and are unadoptable.
What’s more, the public has lost its tolerance for these kinds of lethal policies: 84 percent of Americans prefer that their community use tax dollars to adopt sterilization as its cat control policy instead of bringing cats found outdoors into shelters to be killed. Thousands of communities—including many universities around the world—use TNR to manage their community cat populations, and the number is growing because of its success.
In fact, Illinois supports TNR through the Illinois Public Health and Safety Animal Population Control Program. Caregivers are eligible for its state-funded spay and neuter voucher program to sterilize community cats. In addition, under a law passed in August, counties can use funds from their animal population control programs to issue vouchers for spaying and neutering community cats.
The University of Illinois-Springfield would be moving backward if it returned to an outdated catch and kill program.