On Sept. 16, the Clark County, Nev., board of commissioners unanimously approved a measure that makes it legal to use the trap-neuter-return (TNR) method to control colonies of feral cats. The measure was approved after several months of discussions and input from animal welfare groups such as Spay or Strays and Heaven Can Wait. Some hope the ordinance will serve as a model for other counties and towns.
“[The ordinance] is so well written that it makes sense for other areas,” said Shelly Kotter, feral cat program manager for Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. Kotter explained that the county will now have statistics and numbers to show that a TNR program can work.
In proposing the measure, commissioner Chris Giunchigliani explained to the board that spaying and neutering feral cats helps reduce colony populations, solving stray animal problems in a humane way. Commissioner Rory Reid supported the measure, and told Best Friends that “euthanizing one cat at a time is not the answer. Something else must be done.”
Before the board voted, representatives from several groups that work with feral cats spoke to the commissioners. “You have to control the population,” said Harold Vosco, a volunteer with Heaven Can Wait. “Spay and neuter is the only answer and the only thing that has been proven to work.”
With the ordinance now in place, groups such as Heaven Can Wait can now legally care for feral cat colonies, provided they follow the provisions set out in the ordinance. “It means those that have been working under the radar to help cats are now recognized,” Kotter said. “It takes caregivers skulking around in the night and gives them light. … It gives feral cats worth, and it gives them a voice.”