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Letter to the Editor: Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return: A commonsense, effective, and economical solution

Page Williams’ recent letter (“Be Very Careful What You Wish For, Westville,” Nov. 25) only adds to the misinformation and scaremongering on the subject of unowned, free-roaming “community” cats, thereby undermining any chance for reasonable discussions and fact-based reporting.

Best Friends Animal Society operates more large-scale trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) programs than any other organization in the country. As such, we are in a unique position to comment on the positive impact such programs have not only on the cats, but on animal shelters and the communities they serve.

The process is simple: cats are caught, evaluated by veterinarians, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and returned to their original outdoor homes, unable to have kittens. And the successes we’ve seen, in our own programs and others, echo the findings of research studies demonstrating both the effectiveness of targeted sterilization programs to stabilize and reduce the population of cats at a local level, and the broad public support such programs enjoy.

By contrast, the traditional 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 TNVR offers a commonsense, animal-friendly, effective, and economical alternative. No wonder such programs are becoming increasingly popular across the country, in communities large and small, urban and rural.

Peter J. Wolf
Research/Policy Analyst
Best Friends Animal Society