The Comprehensive Animal Care Laws Working Group met for five hours in Richmond on Oct. 30, following a six-hour session in September. It plans to reconvene Jan. 9.
The panel, which makes recommendations for Virginia’s animal laws, is considering whether trap-neuter-return (TNR) should be expanded, as feral cat advocates have urged.
“The working group is moving towards reaching consensus on a broad range of strategies to tackle the stray, unwanted and feral cat issues in Virginia,” said Daniel Kovich, program manager for the Virginia Office of Animal Care and Health Policy.
TNR supporters want state law clarified to allow animal control departments, counties and cities to conduct all aspects of TNR. While current Virginia law allows individuals to conduct TNR and local governments to sponsor spay/neuter clinics, it bars animal control officers from returning captured feral cats to their outdoor environments.
TNR proponents argue that sterilizing feral cats is more humane and effective than the traditional animal-control practice of “trap and kill.” Feral cats are unadoptable as pets and are usually put down when they end up at animal shelters.