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TNR Opinion - It is time we fix the problem.




A letter to the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and Dr. Kovich with the State Vets Office. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Lynchburg Humane Society,  I would like to voice our support for TNR programs here in Virginia.   I have been in this field for almost 13 years and I have worked in a high intake, high kill shelter and a number of no kill shelters.  Currently I am the executive director of The Lynchburg Humane Society,  the pound for the City of Lynchburg  with a current save rate of 94%

What I find very interesting about those opposing the TNR (trap,neuter, return) programs is that their arguments don't make sense.  From my perspective it comes down to one thing.  The "old" way of handling these community or feral cats have been in operation now for over two decades and we still have a problem.  They have had two decades of the old way of scooping up the cats and killing them but we still have a huge cat problem.  So even if they don't want the cats killing the birds or causing illness or think it is inhumane; the cats are still out there and they are still reproducing and their way isn't working.  If anything it has gotten worse.

Why not try a different way? 

TNR has been tested in the Lynchburg area to be working.  The stats tells the story.  After a number of years of having free spay/neuter for outside free roaming/feral cats we are seeing a decrease in our cat numbers, and less nuisance calls about cats.  But when you look at communities like Danville where they actively go out and pick up cats to only kill them and have no feral cat or TNR programs in place, their numbers really haven't changed that much over the past 6 years.    

Cat intake and outcome for Danville Humane Society
Danville
Stray
Owner
other
Total intake
Adopted
Euthanized
Transferred
RTO
% RTO
Live release rate
2005
1259
817
13
2089
106
2463
0
14
1%
9%
2006
2302
871
34
3207
115
3079
0
23
1%
9%
2007
2575
871
72
3518
120
3363
0
13
1%
10%
2008
2751
826
45
3622
142
3457
0
26
1%
10%
2009
3002
803
6
3811
90
3707
0
5
0%
9%
2010
2855
594
10
3459
81
3358
0
18
1%
9%
2011
3079
663
7
3749
62
3642
12
37
1%
3%
2012
2783
772
2
3557
66
3415
34
16
1%
3%

Cat intake and outcome for the Lynchburg Humane Society
* in 2009 was when we began some of our No Kill programs and educating the public about TNR was a part of those programs.  
Lynchburg
Stray
Owner
other
Total intake
Adopted
Euthanized
Transferred
RTO
% RTO
Live release rate
2005
834
545
16
1395
273
1083
0
20
2%
21%
2006
748
674
17
1439
324
998
0
29
4%
26%
2007
717
769
7
1493
483
985
0
6
1%
33%
2008
655
692
7
1354
480
868
0
8
1%
36%
2009
693
435
8
1136
466
469
0
13
2%
51%
2010
421
398
7
826
571
188
1
4
1%
75%
2011
608
322
18
948
643
124
0
12
2%
84%
2012
475
453
21
949
637
158
0
18
4%
81%

Plus so far this year we have seen an even bigger decrease in cats/kittens to the point where kitten season seemed very very mild.  And we were wondering if we even had one. 

It is time to solve the problem or at least give another solution an opportunity to stop the number of cats in our cities and counties to grow in numbers.  The bird people want them gone, this will fix that.  The people afraid of rabies and other diseases, this will stop that because most spay/neuter efforts vets the cats and gives them rabies shots.  And last, as for the argument that it is more humane to kill them ... well that really doesn't make sense and I bet if you could ask the cat, the idea of death is pretty final and they would choose living. 

If TNR is not the solution then what is?  I am open to other ideas, anything that will reduce the number of cats in our community but those against TNR aren't being productive. TNR opponents are just complaining about how the new way is wrong and inhumane.

The old way is not working... please give us another idea that doesn't involve killing or lets begin to support TNR language and ideas. 

Makena Yarbrough
Executive Director
Lynchburg Humane


 Why we sent this letter and how you can help this cause:
Here is how you can have a say in the matter:
  • Come to the meeting and during the time of public comment speak up for the cats, their caretakers and TNR.  If all you say is “Please legitimize TNR in Virginia”, and person after person makes such a statement, it will be powerful
  • Email Dr Dan Kovich of the State Vet’s office   dan.kovich@vdacs.virginia.gov and CC me   jasper550@cox.net with your comments – those will be shared with the Workgroup members
Opponents of TNR are already making their views known to the Workgroup, and we cannot let their message prevail.  The Workgroup needs to hear from residents from across Virginia that TNR is healthy for cats, works for shelters, and benefits the community at large.
 If you are a TNR advocate and/or a caretaker and have ever felt threatened by anti-TNR policies, this is your chance to speak up and truly make a difference!  Please, please, please act! 


Comments

  1. How is NOT killing feral cats inhumane? Round ups only to kill them is barbaric and should be illegal! It's so inept and produces no positive results. We don't have the right to kill cats after we humans caused the problem to begin with by not neutering our cats. Why should they pay the price with their lives? I do TNR and have trapped hundreds of cats and they all have caretakers who provide food, water and often shelter. These cats are living their lives as they are entitled to. As for the bird people, HUMANS are the number one killer of birds, not cats. As for the people who fear rabies, there has not been one reported incident of cat to human rabies transmission in over 35 years. Mostly due in part to spay/neuter and mandatory rabies vaccines that are administered at the time of surgery! So, instead of wasting your county’s time, money, and resources on sending employees out to round up cats, pay to house them for a hold period, pay for killing kits and disposal. Why not reallocate services and efforts to TNR? It's a no brainer! Feral cats do not belong in the shelter environment. Shelters are for companion animals that are adoptable. Feral cats are wild animals that should be left alone where they are. TNR will simply stop the reproduction and they can go about their lives and not take up precious space in the shelter system that should be used for adoptable cats! You are not accomplishing anything by killing cats as you can see by your stagnant euth stats every year. Why not be progressive and do something that is proven to work and is a win win situation for concerned? Animal control should be spending their time helping animals not killing them.

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