Trap-Neuter-Return Gathering Momentum?

Community cat florida


Trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a method of controlling community cat populations is extensively discussed on the internet. It is widely supported by people who wish to deal with feral cats humanely and decently. Supporters are not exclusively “cat lovers”. There are many people who simply dislike the only alternative: to kill the cats. However, there are also many people who advocate mass slaughter as the only viable method. How to deal with community cats polarizes opinion very strongly.

There have been a number of reports recently that supports the efficacy of TNR programs. TNR works if managed properly and consistently over time and it appears that people in authority are being to realise this.

One such example are the legislators of Florida. They have introduced a Bill – SB1320 of 2013 – that proposes to formally legitimize TNR as the method of managing community cat populations.

This is very good news for people involved in TNR as, on occasions, they have been vilified and even attacked by people who dislike cats. On other occasions they have been treated as criminals for feeding feral cats as part of TNR programs.


Fred Grimm in the online Miami Herald criticizes cat lovers and the Bill. His argument is that TNR is passionately supported by cat lovers who choose to ignore the science, which, he says, informs us that community cats kills billions of birds and other wildlife.

It is interesting that the science that he relies on is the now discredited study run by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which was published in the January 2013 edition of Nature Communications.

This study, which pulled together previous studies, is full of holes, extrapolations, guesswork and estimates. True scientists know that this study does not stand up to scrutiny. Sorry Fred you can’t rely on that and you should be more open to the possibilities of TNR.

Florida Bill

Fortunately the legislators of the state of Florida are more open minded and enlightened. Bill 1320 amends an existing statute (828.27). I won’t go into it in detail but here are a couple of examples of the wording contained in the Bill:

…..a veterinarian or community cat caregiver who provides services or care for cats in a community cat program is immune from criminal and civil liability; providing an exception; providing an effective date.

Another example is one that states that community cats are considered to be domestic cats.

(7)(a) Community cats are considered a domestic species under s. 585.01 and release of a community cat by a community cat program is not abandonment or unlawful release of the cat under this chapter.

As you can see the concept is to protect people involved in TNR from falling foul of existing laws. TNR can encroach upon existing laws and indeed it could leave a person liable for trespass and nuisance.

The point that I wish to make is that I have a sense that TNR is gaining legitimacy as the only viable way to manage community cats. Unsurprisingly, the Florida Bill is strongly opposed by the bird conservation lobbyists from The American Bird Conservancy and Audubon Florida, for example. Even the vets of Florida oppose it. I have no idea why they are involved in this debate.

There are two great cat debates ragging in America (a) banning declawing and (b) how to deal with community cats (feral and stray cats). The answer to the latter is moving in the direction of TNR on a widespread scale as the only sensible and humane method.

This is the Bill (link opens in a new window/tab)


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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Trap-Neuter-Return Gathering Momentum? — 13 Comments

  1. Great article Micheal and well done Florida.
    Of course TNR works and only the ignorant or heartless would want innocent cats killed rather than do it that way.
    What is wrong with some people that they don’t understand they are an animal as much as a cat is,there but for the grace of God and all.
    I think it’s time they were shot and the world would be a far better place then.

    • Thanks Rose. I agree, some people – a lot of people – just don’t get it. They still treat animals extremely poorly and believe that the almighty human has God given rights over all creatures.

  2. I guess you should have waited before getting your hopes up.

    Though Alley-Cat-All-LIES, in keeping true to their 100% deceptive and dishonest track-record; reports that TNR is legal in Florida, when IN FACT it is anything but that. TNR is not legal in any state of the USA. And for good reason. It is always in violation of all animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, and animal-endangerment laws on every book in every state. As well as being in direct violation of all national and international invasive species laws on the planet. Laws that have been on the books in every state for decades, written into law by people with more than a home-schooled education. Though people practice TNR, they only do so until well-informed citizens have had enough and then enforce existing laws upon them to stop them. Bring attention to your cat-colony or cause problems for others with your cat-colony and it is eventually destroyed — BY LAW. It happens each and every time.

    How is that one-and-only native cat species of yours, the Scottish Wildcat, that your invasive species cats have thrown into extinction? It’s not a matter of habitat loss, you know. Are they all gone yet? A few months ago they claimed it would only be a matter of months before their total extinction. Has that happened yet?

    Do you realize the rest of the planet is now viewing all UK residents as the complete laughing-stocks of the world when it comes to native species conservation? Making your one and only native cat species extinct with an invasive species cat. Open your doors and windows, maybe you can hear the world laughing at you.

    • Hi, my hopes were never up. You have missed the point again. The very fact that the legislators proposed the Bill and the way it was drafted strongly indicates that TNR is gaining acceptance by legislators. I expect it to take a number of years before it becomes law (in any state) but it will happen, I believe.

      As to the Scottish Wildcat. Yes, I completely agree that the British have totally screwed up. We do it a lot these days. The biggest problem was over the past 200 years when the Scottish Wildcat was hunted to near extinction.

      Assuming you are American, I think you are being a little bit hypocritical aren’t you? You have eradicated the ocelot from your country and the jaguar to name but two wild cat species. The Florida panther is all but extirpated and is highly inbred and sterile.

      Your cougar has been pushed into the West of the country and one day it will surely die out. You still love to shoot wild cats and still trap bobcats by the tens of thousands for their skin. Not a great wild cat record.

      I think you will find a good number of people laughing at you as well. It isn’t a country specific problem. The wild cats all over the world are being extirpated including the wonderful tiger. It is about people of all races doing the wrong things.

      • The Ocelot is not extinct from N. America, nor is the Jaguar….

        Admin: this comment has been trashed because it is insulting to the site’s owner. For the record the person who made the comment is incorrect regarding the first line that I have retained. The IUCN Red List does not agree that the ocelot and jaguar remain in the USA except, perhaps, for some “vagrant” cats. These cats have been hounded out of the USA and now the authorities are trying to reintroduce the jaguar. The usual stuff.

        • It was only “trashed” by you because it proved you completely in error and the moron that you have proved yourself to be. Can’t handle the truth? Sticking your head back into where you’ve been keeping it isn’t going to change reality, you know….

          Response from Admin: No, I am always open to being criticised where and when it is fair and correct. I even like to be corrected as it improves the page. In this instance your criticism is not correct and you choose to arrogantly insult me at the same time. You must be very stupid to think that I will publish a comment that insults the owner of the site.

  3. Good for Florida!
    TNR does work as we have seen here in the UK.
    Killing cats does not work because as long as ignorant heartless people continue to abandon their un-neutered pet cats, more colonies will form and more kittens will be born and become semi feral and then they will breed and eventually their offspring will be born feral.
    So the killing would go on indefinately!
    If a feral colony are TNR and someone feeds them they live quite happily.
    Instead of Bird Conservancys being against TNR they should be helping to spread the word that neutering is the only way to stop all the unwanted cats being born.
    It makes me so angry when they blame cats for the decline of birds, humans cause the most decline of many more birds than cats ever could.

    • yes i agree ruth,people kill maany more birds than cats do.and when people kill birds it is’nt to survive(unless you want to consider chicken).last week while i was walking i saw a dead hawk on the side of the road that had obviously been hit by a car.

      • Yes Kevin, people pollute the atmosphere and destroy birds habitat and some shoot birds from the sky just for fun!
        Sad about that poor hawk, some people just don’t put any value on the life of every living being.
        Feral cats only kill because they are hungry and they do the job of keeping the rodent population down too, having no cats living wild could start another plague!
        I’d like to bet those people putting birds above cats sit down to roast dinners of chicken, turkey etc, without a second thought! Yet they are birds too.
        We don’t need to eat them to survive, my sister and I went vegetarian 12 years ago and wish we’d done it sooner.

        • I think you make a really poignant point about the fact that they sit down to eat birds for dinner probably. It’s incredibly hypochritical. It’s like anti smoking people driving cars – you just can’t take it seriously. Why are the bird people so childish. They know cats kill birds so they try to blame the whole thing on them because they don’t like cats because cats sometimes kill birds. That is childish and unintelligent. Personally I believe the truth prevails. If humans want to maintain control of the cat overpopulation the cheapest and most effective way to do it is TNR. Furthermore there is an army of people in every town willing to help. How hard can it be, how obvious does it need to be. It’s cheaper. Surely that should count for something in the modern day corrupted world. Money talks I thought. Plus not inly is killing more expensive but it also doesn’t solve the problem at all.

          • Yes they are hypocrites Marc ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone’
            I don’t know why humans can’t just live and let live, cats don’t ask to be born as cats, nor do they deserve to struggle to survive.
            Nature planned it all out, survival of the fittest and each species with their predators to keep the numbers right.
            But people have interfered and messed Nature’s whole plan up and instead of understanding just what they’ve done, in the case of feral cats they blame them and want them killed!

  4. tnr is a good method of keeping cat populations down.I don’t want to see dead cats all over the roads,but on the other hand I feel like nature needs to take it’s own course without human intervention.

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