A California Superior Court has ordered the City of Los Angeles to halt what was described as an effort to "secretly and unofficially" promote TNR or trap neuter return, the practice of trapping feral cats, spaying/neutering as well as vaccinating them, and returning them to a feral cat colony cared for by a volunteer caregiver.
Under a TNR program, kittens and cats that are not actually feral but are abandoned pets forced to live on the streets or in the wild, may be socialized and placed for adoption.
Studies show that TNR works as a humane means of controlling feral cat populations. The alternative, the inhumane catch and kill, has not worked to reduce numbers of feral cats. The use of TNR is on the rise.
In 2005, in fact, the City of Los Angeles Board of Animal Services adopted TNR as the "preferred method of dealing with feral cat populations." According to the allegations in the complaint, the Department then supported TNR, including discounting spay/neuter operations for feral cats, supporting new feral cat colonies on city property that used TNR, refusing to accept feral cats at city animal shelters, refusing to issue permits to trap feral cats that would be killed, and generally promoting TNR programs. The court found the City’s support of TNR" pervasive, albeit informal and unspoken.’"
The court found, however, that the City has not complied with the California Environmental Quality Act, Cal Pub Resources Code § 21000, et seq. before initiating this support for TNR. That law requires the City to assess the environmental impact and consider alternatives and mitigation measures.
The City will now initiate the process of complying with CEQA before it can continue support of TNR programs. It is a public process, and Animal Law Coalition will keep you informed of how you can participate to support TNR in the City of Los Angeles.