Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Addressing TNR Comments

One person keeps making comments on this blog about being confused about how TNR works and that no one has told him/her who is responsible for what. Here's my attempt to answer these comments briefly, but for more detail about how TNR works, why it works, and why it is the best option for also protecting public health, please visit Alley Cat Allies.

The main point to remember and that those who argue against TNR seem to forget is that our outdated catch and kill method is the only other approach that has been used and has miserably failed for decades and decades. We know it has failed because feral cat populations have grown steadily instead of diminished, and these cats that are not managed by colony caretakers are not vaccinated, not fixed, and cause more issues for humans and other animals than those who are managed.

Anonymous said...

"No one can ever tell me how and who will be sure all the cats in a TNR program are vaccinated for rabies. Who will keep all of these records and who will be liable if a cat does happen to bite someone. And now with the fact that we have bats that are positive in the area and two unvaccinated cats had to be euthanized because they came into contact with the bat. It was ordered by the State health department. And how about other feline diseases that can spread rapidly. Who will have all the records of each cat if they are vaccinated."

All the cats in managed cat colonies are trapped, fixed, vaccinated and released back into their colony. In rare cases, cats can be relocated to a new territory via barn cat and similar programs (check out

Colony caretakers/feral cat groups are the ones who keep records on the cats and are responsible for them. Look to the NMSU program here in our community; they keep a database and are tracking each and every cat. TNR caretakers also provide feeding stations and dispute resolution when cats become a problem for anyone. By feeding and caring for the cats, it is less likely the cats will be out hunting or disturbing people.

Usually, TNR programs do a very good job of catching all of the cats in a colony, and this is why these programs work. With most cats in the colony fixed, vaccinated, and released, that makes it so that other cats are kept out of the colony. It stabilizes that colony and its population. When some or all cats in a colony or territory are caught and killed, it only makes it so that more cats move in and multiply that much faster. That's why there's now an estimated 60-80 million feral cat population in our country--that's above the 80 million in homes!

TNR is the only solution that has worked to reduce the population of feral, abandoned, unwanted cats. These managed colonies are much safer than the alternative for other cats and humans. Now, all the cats in our community that are loose are not vaccinated, not taken care of, etc.

As the cat populations in colonies begin to diminish over time, they naturally die off. The other plus is that most feral/wild cats do not come into contact at all with humans. You'd have to be looking for trouble to get attacked by a feral cat. They hide and do not bother anyone except for their natural prey, so TNR also helps address this issue by providing food to hungry loose cats, which then saves more of their prey.

To me, this answers your comments, Anonymous, that you say no one can answer. This also addresses the recent case of the rabid bat and the cats that "might" have come into contact with the bat that were killed. If those cats had been vaccinated even once in their lives, the chances of them being infected would have been extremely rare.

Also remember that the last time there was an incident in this nation of a domestic cat involved in a human rabies incident was back in 1975. As we know, wild animals still have issues with rabies, but our domestic animals are pretty well-protected these days because of our emphasis on vaccination for the past few decades.

Next post: I'll summarize my favorite workshop at The No Kill Conference 2009, "How to Overcome Internal Obstacles to Success".


Anonymous said...

i have been near the university where they let the cat run wild
you cant miss it with smell. you cant tell me people go out and clean the poo the cats leave behind.
And who is liable for any legal action on a cat bite when there is one. The two cats did, not "might", have possitive contact with the rabid bat according to the cat owner.
Spayed or not we will still have the problem of stay cats going into peoples yards who don't want them there.
I think you should put your efforts in helping the ASCMV with educating the public instead of bashing on the shelter.
Euthanasia is a sad part of life and we all just have to deal with it. I think educating people on spaying their animal will be more effective than just doing a TNR and letting animals run wild. And why should we only do cats, why nor domesticated rabbits, rats, or even dogs.I have been in countries in South America where there are dogs running at large and living well with the public, in a pack or not. If we are supose to so "progressive" why can't we follow the example of some third world countries on these issues.

Anonymous said...

I found this on Craig's List and it's ever so true about rescue groups and even the local shelter.

I think they all charge too much for things. Gawd I just want to adopted a dog and you get the 3rd degree and have hands in your pockets helpfully taking large wads of cash for the pooch.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer and think that we should be helping the animals not harming them.


Everyone is complaining about people who 'sell' their dogs here, on Craig's List, under the guise of re-homing fee's. A re-homing fee is just that. $20-$25 tops is a re-homing fee. NOT hundreds of dollars.

But, It seems that rescues and shelters have gone big business. They consistantly charge high adoption fees. They are more interested in the cash they can get, than for the welfare of the pet. Rescue groups, in particular, like to make a square pain of themselves, wanting to know all this and that about thing, that are non of their business, Even going so far as to wanting to prowl your home. Thou well meaning this sort of behavior keeps animals from getting their forever homes. People just don't want to be bothered with crazy behavior like that. They just want a pet, not an interrogation. So they go to a breeder rather than being hasseled by individuals pretending to be interested in animal welfare. So they are doing double damage. Keeping the breeding in business and ultimately harming their charges when they never get adopted.

So when you complain about sales here......Start complaining about Rescue groups posting here also. The average charge for an adoption is 100-300 dollars. This is called price gouging in ALL circles.

I run a small private rescue, I charge $20 for what ever pet. It doesn't matter what it is. I love animals and my work is for the animal not for what I can get out of it. Granted I can afford the expenses, but if 'Mr & Mrs Rescue' can't, I suggest you close up. You do nothing for the Pets in Need.

DvFx said...

Anony 1--QUOTE "Euthanasia is a sad part of life" So are you going to do grandma in when she smells and becomes a nuisance??? Who set you up as Judge Jury and EXECUTIONER??? By the way it's not Euthanasia---It's KILLING. Nothing pretty or nice about it. So stop using politically correct words that is just BS.

You know I hear that if you round up all the poor people and fix them, you would solve a bunch of problems for this society.


If the shelters, who do nothing but kill animals, cared about anything but getting the rush every time they kill a puppy...Oh yer there are sickos working there that enjoy killing things. GET A CLUE!......Then they would have a monthly EMPTY THE POUND DAY and sell every one for $10. And you sign a legally binding contract to get shots and get them fixed yourself. None of this the pound will do it for you crap and days later you get a sloppy neutering by people who don't care. Frankly I want anyone I adopt to have the vet I want to work on it. Not some hack.

LynnO said...

How nice that people are taking the time to comment!
I've been to the "dog beach" in SanDiego, California, and it stinks too! Without enough rain to wash the soil, places where animals congregate tend to stink. (Try the enclosed pens at a zoo on a wet or cold day...ewww.)
Nature sometimes stinks, but it stinks a LOT more when humans let it run amok. By spaying and neutering and vaccinating feral cats, we are doing the "best" thing to fix the problem.
History has shown that just killing doesn't work! The cats are feral for a reason, they survive well! But if you control the reproduction of the colony, they'll keep "stray" cats out of the group and the numbers will eventually decrease (nobody lives forever...) and there won't be as much smell either.
Pee from an intact male smells MUCH worse than that of a neutered animal...and if all the animals are spayed/neutered, there's less incentive to flag the world with that horrid smell too!

As for adoption fees---whatever works! Our pound charges $86 for an altered dog. If the dog is not altered, you pay the spay/neuter fee as your adoption fee. (Plus a $20 microchip and a $15 rabies vaccination.)

The rescue group I volunteer for raised the rate to adopt a dog (especially puppies) up to $125 from $100. This barely covers the fee to have the animal altered, vaccinated and microchipped. The fee doesn't go up if the pup or dog was sick or required other special medical care, or has been in foster care/rehab for as much as five years!

Rehoming fees are often whatever the market will bear. And people paying $1500 for a puppy mill dog that is going to have medical issues for the rest of it's life is NOT a bargain! And yet they still find a market...

The pound will adopt an animal out to anybody with $86 and a lot of those critters come back, or get shuffled around to other rescue groups. Okay, well, that's better than being dead, which is what can happen if it comes back to the pound with a few bad habits and they deem it "unadoptable!"

If you want a pet, check out you can search for species, age, gender, breed, or zip code! (So if any dog or cat will do, type in your zip code and you'll find what's available right in your area!)

If you don't like to answer tough questions or have strangers do a home visit to check out your digs, TELL the rescue group this! How will they ever learn that they are turning off their market if you just go away and never call back?! (Don't worry, they're on the other side of the fence saying: "Oh well, that would have been a bad home anyway...")
We've GOT to work together in order to do the best job of helping the creatures. Can't we all just GET OVER IT!?!?