Safely trap, spay-neuter, vaccinate & return or re-locate Feral Cats: your resident rodent-removers

Safely re-locate & permanently deploy Feral Cats as your resident rodent-removers

Chapter 15 of the TNR Handbook has some helpful advice for the relocation process:

 Also:  & on Facebook @NbrhoodCats

  1. Keep your spayed-neutered, vaccinated & ear-tipped feral cats within a safe, spacious, enclosed area for four weeks.  – a clear, habitual message to your feral cats that this is their territory to explore & enjoy.
  1. Feed & provide your cats with fresh water daily.  Continue providing food & water to your feral cats after you release them into their new, outdoor territory.  Keep them healthy & actively catching unwanted rodents.
  1. Scatter your feral cats’ litter-box droppings & urine around the general vicinity outside of their enclosed area.  To remind your rodent-removers to stay & work for you permanently.

Want to find out how & where to get your feral cats trapped, fixed & vetted at low or no cost?;;;;

District of Columbia Cat Law – 2010

Sec. 8-1802. Animal Care and Control Agency
(c) The Animal Care and Control Agency shall promote:
(2) The utilization of trap, spay or neuter, and return practices as a means of controlling the feral cat population; provided, that all efforts shall be made to adopt out a trapped, tamable kitten.

It’s catching on

The experience of D.C. is not unique. The presenters at the 2016 National Animal Care & Conrol Association (NACA) Conference in October described several other examples of RTF successes:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico – over a three year period, there was a 39% decrease in Intake and an 83% decrease in Euthanasia.
  • Baltimore, Maryland – over a three year period, there was a 39% decrease in kitten intake.
  • Tucson, Arizona – over two years, the save rate went from 56% to 91%.
  • Operation Catnip, Alachua County Florida, targeted one ZIP code and compared it to other surrounding ZIP codes –
    • Intake decreased by 66% in the targeted ZIP code, compared to only a 12% decrease elsewhere,
    • Euthanasia decreased by 95% in the targeted ZIP code, compared to only a 30% decrease elsewhere.
  • San Jose, California – there was a 21% decrease in Intake and a 69% decrease in Euthanasia.


About the Author:

Mr. Timothy W. Saffell holds a Certificate in Lifesaving-Centered Animal Shelter Management from the University of the Pacific. He is a member of the National Animal Care & Control Association and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, and has attended National Animal Control and Humane Officer Training.

In July 2009 Mr. Charles W. Wilson, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources invited Mr. Saffell to develop a transition plan to better serve the people of Prince George’s County while saving more animal lives. The proposal was unanimously approved by the County Council. On November 12, 2009, Mr. Wilson announced that it was a “New Day” for the animals, staff and volunteers of the Animal Management Division.

Mr. Saffell can be reached by Email: TimSaffell@USA.Net

The “Big Picture” is getting even bigger

The Return to Field (RTF) policy in the District of Columbia is just one result of a broader change in Mindset. No longer referred to as the “poundmaster”, the activity is now called “Animal Care and Control”. Rather than being driven by complaints and responding universally with trap-and-kill, D.C. takes a proactive part in community problem solving, working with neighbors to reach solutions that are beneficial to both the human and the animal residents. They assist Good Samaritans with feeding plans and provide shelters and feeding stations for the cats when necessary. Some Animal Control Officers actually perform Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) activities in the neighborhoods, often volunteering on their own time.

Yes, you CAN put a price on saving lives

Estimates indicate that it costs about $150 to round up and kill a feral cat. But, if anything, this exacerbates the cat population problems. Unsterilized cats in the surrounding area freely reproduce to replace those that have been killed. Then the new arrivals must be rounded up and killed as well. Much like the common practice of the 1800s – and the District of Columbia law of 1929 required, the Prince George’s County Animal Management Division rounds up and kills about 1,500 cats each year at the cost of almost a quarter of a million dollars. Since this practice does not address the underlying issue, it will be necessary to do the same thing next year, and the next, forever, wasting taxpayer money and perpetuating the strife in neighborhoods where there are people who appreciate the value of life and the contribution of these felines to their community.

Alternatively, the same expenditure could have provided spay/neuter procedures and vaccinations for about 4,500 cats. If properly managed, this would be a significant step towards humane population control, and would contribute to a more positive public image of the Prince George’s County Animal Management Division and the County Government as a whole. Another benefit of this progressive approach is that there is often grant funding available for veterinary care associated with saving lives, while funders are not anxious to contribute to killing.

The evolution continues …   Return to Field is only one of many progressive programs of Managed Intake that are being used by Animal Services agencies around the world, and Managed Intake is only one of the many new areas into which progressive Live-saving Animal Shelter Management is expanding to address public safety while saving animal lives, and protecting the public, while conserving taxpayer resources.

Help yourself to animal-welfare resources at  Select “Animal Welfare” from the right-hand column & then scroll downward through the entries to locate topics that interest you (or enter your favorite animal-welfare topics within the upper, right-hand “Search” box).

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