the new normal
TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) programs are nothing new—cat rescue organizations have been using and advocating them for years. But something new is happening in government-run animal shelters—throughout the United States, agencies are moving from incarcerating and killing healthy cats and kittens (shelter kill rates for cats as a group is 70%) to advocating TNR. As shelters everywhere feel the impact of budget cuts, sustainable, economical solutions are winning out over outdated sheltering concepts.
Spartanburg, South Carolina is now home to one of the most radical TNR programs in the U.S. What makes it radical is that Animal Services, through a grant from PetSmart Charities, is spearheading a TNR program. The shelter in Chico, California, no longer accepts healthy cats. The turnaround came after the manager of Chico Animal Services became convinced that cats, unlike dogs, do not benefit from being in a shelter, and that killing feral cats had no impact on reducing their numbers.
Here in the Bay Area, the TNR program at San Jose Animal Serivces, initiated by Deputy Director Jon Cicirelli, has resulted in a 40% drop in euthanasia. The cost is the same as keeping the cats at the shelter through stray holding period, then killing them.
Read more about changes for shelter cats at Maddie’s Fund.