Did you know that Trap-Neuter-Return is official policy in our nation's capital? Washington, D.C. code says the city's animal control agency (i.e. the Washington Humane Society) shall promote, "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." (§ 8–1802)
This program has been in place for years and is a model of success for other municipal TNR programs to follow. Since its inception, the program has sterilized 8,000 cats at no cost to taxpayers, which has kept countless homeless kittens from being born. But at the behest of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the District Department of the Environment's 2015 Draft Wildlife Action Plan is calling for "revisiting" the District's position on TNR. The ABC is vehemently opposed to TNR, so we know the recommendation to "revisit" current policy is actually a call to reverse it. (Curiously, the DDOE chose not to consult the Washington Humane Society in regard to revisiting TNR policy.)
Please tell DDOE Director Tommy Wells that you do not support changing the current TNR policy in the District. Feel free to use our letter below, and to add your own personal experiences as they relate to TNR. Please write at your earliest opportunity, as the public comment period for the draft Plan closes next Monday, Sept. 7.
Re: Wildlife Action Plan
Dear Director Wells,
I do not support the District Department of the Environment’s plan to “revisit” Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as part of the Draft Wildlife Action Plan for 2015. Loss of this vital program would have negative consequences for the community and only lead to more cats and kittens being brought to shelters and euthanized.TNR is the humane method by which we can effectively manage community cats and reduce their numbers. Catch-and-kill strategies are outdated, ineffective, and costly. Simply removing cats produces a Vacuum Effect, wherein remaining cats move into an empty but supportive habitat and quickly reproduce to fill the space again. TNR is the only method that seeks to address this issue at the source, reproduction. By moving away from TNR, the DDOE will condemn itself to an endless and costly cycle of killing, as each new litter creates more kittens for “removal.”I support the District’s promotion of Trap-Neuter-Return and the Washington Humane Society’s Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program (CatNiPP). Both reflect the desire among District residents for humane treatment of community cats and I strongly urge you to leave the District’s model Trap-Neuter-Return policy in place.Sincerely,
[City, State, Zip]
You can email your comments, with the subject line "Wildlife Action Plan", to SWAP.Comments@dc.gov, and physical letters can be mailed or hand-delivered to:
DDOE, Fisheries and Wildlife Division
Attention: Wildlife Action Plan
1200 First Street NE, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20002
Please take action TODAY on behalf of our capital's feral cats!