The Humane Society of Moultrie-Colquitt County is right to seek more funding for spay/neuter programs, but it should abandon plans to trap, neuter, and re-abandon (TNR) cats, which is cruel and ineffective (“Hopes running high for changes at Humane Society,” 4-30-19).
As suggested by Moultrie City Manager Pete Dillard, ordinances that require cats and dogs to be spayed and neutered have proven to be effective at reducing the numbers of homeless animals. Several communities in Oklahoma that have passed spay/neuter ordinances have reported a reduction in the number of stray animals. One animal control supervisor told a news outlet that the number of strays taken had gone down every year since the town’s spay/neuter ordinance had passed.
But when sterilization is coupled with abandonment, as it is with TNR, it causes an increase in homeless cat populations. That’s because more people are likely to abandon cats if they think the cats will be “cared for,” and because the food set out for colonies makes un-trapped cats better able to reproduce and attracts more cats (as well as wildlife, including foxes, raccoons, and even rats, which a recent study showed cats have little impact on).
Rather than “save” cats, TNR sentences them to miserable lives and terrible deaths, often at the hands of frustrated taxpayers who have been denied assistance removing animals they perceive to be a nuisance. Considering the many dangers outdoor cats face—extreme temperatures, deadly contagious diseases, parasites, speeding cars, attacks by dogs and wildlife, and more—it should come as no surprise that the average lifespan of a homeless cat is less than 3 years, compared to 12-15 years for an indoor cat.
Spaying and neutering animals and cracking down on people who abandon them is the only way to humanely reduce the numbers of unwanted animals requiring animal shelter services.
Animal Care & Control Issues Manager
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals