January 18, 2012

An Important Step Towards No Kill

An important bill to support trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for feral cats in Virginia was recently introduced in the Virginia legislature. S.B. 359, sponsored by Sen. Deeds, is scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee tomorrow (1/19).

Virginia law has long been murky on the subject of TNR. Not long after Voices for Animals began a TNR program, the state vet informed us that we could be charged with abandonment -- for returning cats to their colonies after they were sterilized and vaccinated. And while many enlightened animal control agencies actively support TNR, that's not the case in all parts of Virginia, and many dedicated animal advocates have heard similar threats from their local agencies. 

Needless to say, the last thing any Virginia community needs is barriers to progressive spay/neuter programs.

S.B. 359 would add a new subsection to the animal care provisions of the Virginia Code: "§ 3.2-6504.1. Trap, Neuter, and Return programs. 

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the 
(i) proper trapping or capture; 
(ii) holding; 
(iii) provision of care, including but not limited to sterilization, vaccination, microchipping, or eartipping; 
(iv) release or return to the trapping site or colony; or 
(v) long-term feeding and care at the colony of a feral cat as part of a formal Trap, Neuter, and Return program operated by a pound, animal shelter, humane society, or other releasing agency."

Unfortunately, some wildlife organizations are opposing this bill under the misguided belief that TNR means choosing cats over wildlife. Our state senators need to hear from you today that TNR is both a humane and commonsense approach to reducing feral cat populations in the long term.

Please take a moment today to send an email to the Virginia Agriculture committee members in support of Senator Deeds' Bill.

Senator Deeds -
Senator Hanger -
Senator Watkins -
Senator Puckett -
Senator Ruff -
Senator Blevins -
Senator Obenshain -
Senator McEachin -
Senator Petersen -
Senator Northam -
Senator Stuart -
Senator Marsden -
Senator Stanley -
Senator Black -
Senator Miller -
Senator Ebbin -

Many thanks to our friends at the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA for its behind-the-scenes legwork on this legislation! 

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing start to making a difference for the animals that no one ever sees or cares about. Make a difference and spend a few minutes to be their 'voice'. Thank You Lisa and thanks to all the feral cat caretakers who fly under the radar.