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Letters to the Editor

Feral cats: Best to trap, neuter, vaccinate, return

It was disappointing to read of Hennepin’s plans for managing its population of unowned, free-roaming cats [“Hennepin decides feral felines have worn out their welcome,” May 22].

Feeding bans have proved ineffective virtually anyplace they’ve been attempted. As with other instances of criminalizing kindness, such measures are misguided and extraordinarily difficult to enforce.

Removal, too, has a very poor track record of effectiveness. Indeed, this approach to managing free-roaming cats (i.e., impoundment followed, in most cases, by lethal injection) has been used for more than 100 years in this country with no evidence whatsoever that it’s produced any long-term population reduction. It’s also wildly unpopular and costly, the poster child for failed public policy.

Targeted trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) programs, by contrast, offer a common-sense, animal-friendly alternative for reducing the number of community cats in our neighborhoods. The process is simple: cats are caught (often by volunteers), evaluated by veterinarians, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and returned to their original outdoor homes, no longer able to have kittens.

By preventing additional births instead of trying to house, feed, and euthanize more cats, TNVR also saves taxpayers money. No wonder such programs are becoming increasingly popular across Illinois (and the country), in communities large and small, urban and rural.

Peter J. Wolf

Phoenix, Ariz.

Note to readers: Peter J. Wolf is a research/policy analyst for Best Friends Animal Society, which is based in Kanab, Utah.

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