TNR Reality Check

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Municipal Experiences

Did TNR benefit the cats and the community?
Did TNR reduce the risks to public health?
Did TNR save the town money?
Did TNR help wildlife and the environment?

What happened as a result of allowing TNR?

Cats saved from being euthanized take over South Fla. streets

County program inadvertently floods neighborhood with cats

Failure in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ - Click Here

Read what municipalities have to say…

From the Palm Beach Daily News in Florida, 2009


Clearly exasperated with the whole situation, Council President David Rosow threatened to push an ordinance allowing island residents and their staff to feed only cats residing on their private property unless the two groups worked out their issues.

"The sad thing is we have men and women in Afghanistan, we have them in Iraq, we've got pirates in Somalia," Rosow said.

"We've got people across the bridge who would love to have a can of cat food, because they have no money to buy food. This is an embarrassment for our town. … Our residents laugh at us on a regular basis. People stop me on the street, at the clubs and at dinner and ask about 'the cats' and laugh and say, 'This is just the silliest thing in the world.'"

From the Bandera County Courier in Texas, 2009


Too tenderhearted to leave the cat in the trap without food and water all night, she transferred the cat into a larger cage for one last meal before restricting its food for the night - according to pre-surgery protocol.

When the cat tried to escape, she reached out her hand to stop the fleeing animal and, for her efforts, was bitten to the bone on her right hand. After being bitten, Charity dropped the cat and it ran off.


Bandera County Animal Welfare Society (AWS) Director Sandee Bowman helped the City of Bandera start a Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) program four years ago.


She was informed that besides being financially responsible for her hospital bill, she would be also be responsible for the cost of quarantining the cat that bit her.

Nightingale's criticism of TNR runs deep. "No one re-traps the animals to give them booster shots for rabies control. Rabies is increasing in the State of Texas and rabies vaccines do not last a lifetime."

While figures for 2008 are not yet available, Nightingale said positive rabies cases have been climbing since 2005 - despite the rabies bait drop program aimed at lowering the fatal disease in coyotes and foxes.

"There were 888 positives for rabies in domestic and wild animals in 2006," he said. "Ten of these were cats. There were 969 positive cases in 2007 and 14 were cats. That's a significant number when you consider the fact that people who can't capture the cat that bit them must undergo thousands of dollars worth of medical treatment."

Nightingale added, "Our office uses a rabies vaccine for cats that produces less cancer-related health issues and it has only been cleared for one year. When a person traps one of these animals and gets bitten, it is at someone's expense - often the taxpayers."


He added, "The TNR program goes against everything we were taught in veterinary school about preventing disease. It's basically throwing the animals back out there to die from fights, disease or getting run over by vehicles. The average life expectancy of a cat is between 12 and 15 years. Bowman admits that feral cats only live a third of that time."

Nightingale concluded, "I am against using public funds for this program. Someone has to pay when a person gets injured by one of these animals. I'm not convinced that the number of feral cats within the City of Bandera has decreased. I get a lot of calls about them. And I'm against catching them and giving them medical treatment, then putting them back to eat all the songbirds."

For Immediate Release, from the County of Los Angeles, California, October 23, 2008


Representatives from the Los Angles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) have worked with a local feral cat group for over nine months to find a solution to this growing problem. Despite this effort, the cat population remains significant, and a recent inspection on the campus found five litters. DACC has offered the group numerous resources to assist in this effort; however the number of cats has continued to grow.


"What this comes down to is protecting the health and well being of the children at the day care center and our employees at the crime and public health labs, as well as the public who routinely visit the campus," said Supervisor Knabe. "The goal is to control fleas and other problems that could pose a public health hazard, especially for children or those with weakened immune systems. This is kids over cats, plain and simple."

From Associated Press by South Jersey News Online, March 5, 2008


After nearly a year of conflict that pitted cat lovers against bird lovers in one of North America's prime bird-watching spots, the City Council approved a plan to move feral cat colonies 1,000 feet away from the beach.

The move was necessary to protect endangered shore birds like the piping plover and the least tern, both of which are vulnerable to cats and other predators because they nest on the ground, in ruts on Cape May's popular beach.

Because the birds are listed as endangered species, federal environmental officials had threatened to withhold funds for replenishing Cape May's beach if the city refused to protect the birds.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had wanted feral cat colonies banned within one mile of the beach -- which would have eliminated all wild cats in Cape May, where both cats and birds are popular.


Federal authorities have said they are not thrilled with the compromise, believing it still allows wild cats too close to nesting birds, but are willing to try it for a few months this spring and summer.

Read the full story here:

From The Star Ledger, 2006


Animal welfare representatives rallied outside Carteret's board of health last night to protest a plan to rescind an ordinance aimed at controlling the borough's feral cat population.


Initially, officials said they saw the program as a good way to decrease the stray cat population because the cats would not be able to reproduce. Instead, they have been inundated with complaints from residents who say cats are taking over their backyards.

"They defecate and pee and do their business on my property," said Grace Carolla, who said she lives next door to a feeder. "It seems that these cats never leave."

Carolla said she is not against the trap-neuter-release program, but she would prefer the cats are not fed near her property because they tend to gather there in groups and attract other stray cats.


He said the best option for the borough would be to hire an animal-control officer who would rapidly resolve complaints by trapping stray cats and leaving them with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for adoption or euthanization.

"The key word here is do not release them back out," he said.

Full Story available in The Star-Ledger Archive: Plan to end 'humane' cat-control program protested. Critics say ordinance made Carteret's problem worse.

Many people may not want to see feral cats euthanized, but that does NOT mean they want managed cat colonies next to their homes and places of business. Municipalities should require cat licensing, rabies vaccinations, and pass ordinances that prohibit cats from free-roaming and prohibit people from feeding feral cats. Colonies should never be maintained on public or municipal land. Managed colonies should be treated as a zoning or land use issue. If TNR is permitted, that should be on private property and the cats should be enclosed to prevent them from roaming.

Public health and welfare must be the priority.

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