Vermont has the chance to change its policies to protect community cats and the compassionate citizens who care for them.
The Vermont House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry is considering a bill, H.204, which would clarify that the “return” in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is not abandonment and community cat caregivers are not owners of the cats. These changes will support continued TNR efforts and allow caregivers to continue caring for cats uninhibited
All humane laws must recognize that TNR is not abandonment, as cats are returned to their outdoor homes where they already live and thrive with their colonies. If H.204 passes, Vermont will recognize that it is in the best interest of a community cat and shelter to put the cat through a TNR program and return her to her outdoor home as quickly as possible. This method keeps more community cats out of shelters, where nearly all would be killed because they are not socialized to people or adoptable.
The bill also states that caregivers are not the owners of community cats, but good Samaritans stepping forward to care for animals with their own time and resources. Vermont’s community cat caregivers are on the front lines providing food, water, and much-needed spay and neuter and vaccination services to cats. H.204 recognizes caregivers’ contributions to the community, supports their efforts, and gives them explicit access to reduced-cost rabies vaccines to help in their lifesaving work.
Finally, H.204 bans cruel methods of controlling or killing animals, including cats. Specifically, it prevents residents from using poison to kill animals on their properties and shelters from using carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas to “euthanize” animals. Both these methods are widely known to be cruel and unnecessary.
Alley Cat Allies is rallying citizens in Vermont to speak out in support of H.204 and make these vital humane changes happen. Through TNR, we can collaborate to help cats live long, healthy lives with their colonies in their outdoor homes and ensure that cats and people can coexist peacefully.