This letter to the editor was submitted to the Times Observer newspaper in Youngsville, PA., submitted on August 31, 2023.

To the editor:

Youngsville Borough Council’s discussions on adjusting its cat-related ordinances (Times Observer, Aug. 16) should focus on the humane, nonlethal approaches that have become popular with the public. Any thought of a feeding ban for cats, however, should be off the table from the start, because such bans have proven to be ineffective and cruel to cats.

Feeding bans criminalize the compassionate acts of good Samaritans who feed the community’s cats. These bans are simply government-directed animal cruelty, bringing no benefit to the city. The idea is unenforceable and simply does not work.

Cats do not vanish after attempts to starve them to death—they just look for food in other places. As cats search farther for food, they become more visible, which will bring more calls to local authorities, not less.

Feeding community cats is critical to the implementation of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)— the scientifically proven, evidence-based approach that long ago became the mainstream policy in cities and towns all over the U.S. TNR is humane, popular with the public, and continues to be embraced because it works. As sound public policy, it effectively and humanely manages the community cat population, reduces shelter intake and killing, and reduces calls to animal control agencies. With all these benefits, TNR saves money for taxpayers, too.

Today’s society demands solutions and lifesaving programs, not feeding bans that harm cats without achieving any positive outcomes.

Coryn Julien
Communications Director
Alley Cat Allies