A panel that makes recommendations for Virginia's animal laws plans to convene Sept. 5 to review policies on outdoor cats, and feral-cat advocates hope the session leads to an expansion of trap-neuter-return (TNR) in the state.
Virginia government officials did not disclose what specifically prompted the Comprehensive Animal Care Laws (CACL) working group to schedule the Richmond meeting. But Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit that advocates TNR, has said that “state laws should be clarified to allow animal control departments, counties and cities to conduct all aspects of TNR.” Current Virginia law allows individuals to conduct TNR and local governments to sponsor spay/neuter clinics, but animal control officers are barred from returning captured feral cats to their outdoor environments.
“Animal control officers in jurisdictions such as Spartanburg, S.C., who have adopted TNR
programs have reported overwhelmingly positive outcomes,” the nonprofit said. “Certainly, there are animal control officers in Virginia who would like to become more directly involved in TNR.”
Alley Cat Allies is urging Virginia residents to send a pro-TNR electronic message to the CACL working group.
Alley Cat Allies contends that TNR “is the only humane and effective approach to feral, or community, cats. TNR effectively stabilizes cat populations, ends mating behaviors, improves cats' health, and answers the needs of communities.” Feral cats are unsocialized to people, making them unadoptable as pets.