Bountiful, Utah, has become the 14th community in Davis County to adopt a trap/neuter/return (TNR) ordinance. Arlyn Bradshaw, executive director of Best Friends–Utah (and a member of the Salt Lake County Council) has been leading the charge by making presentations on the benefits of TNR to decision-makers in many municipalities around the state. The presentations highlight how TNR helps a community keep residents happy, cats healthy and reduce the number of shelter deaths.
Clint Thacker, executive director of Davis County Animal Services, says, “With Bountiful joining the Davis County TNR program, the three largest cat intake cities in our county are participating in the program. We are excited to see the future results of fewer impounds of cats and less euthanasia in our shelter."
Strategic for whole community
The TNR program helps free-roaming community cats bypass the shelter system when they are trapped, spayed or neutered and returned to their original area. With no extra cost to taxpayers, TNR not only helps save more cats from dying in the shelter system, it helps people, too. Spaying or neutering a cat diminishes the unwanted behavior that is annoying to many people, such as fighting and spraying. The program also provides humane deterrents that can be utilized by people who do not want cats on their property.
“I have always stated that euthanasia is not a shelter’s problem. It is a community’s problem, and should be handled as such,” says Clint. “The TNR program does just that — makes individuals aware of a problem and has them work with us and Best Friends to find the best solution.”
Fortunate future for felines
Tom Ross, police chief in Bountiful, is a more recent convert to trap/neuter/return. “I must admit, years ago when I first heard about trapping and then releasing cats back to the same area, I didn’t think it made much sense and I didn’t readily support the program,” says Tom. “As I have come to understand the science and rationale behind the program, I have become a supporter.”
He cites a number of reasons for supporting TNR. In addition to reducing the number of cats entering the shelter, he also sees it as an opportunity to reduce the numbers of cats out on the streets, thanks to spay/neuter. He also sees the program benefitting the people who love and care for the cats, as well as keeping the cats healthier by emphasizing treatment when the cats are trapped.
“Finally, I believe it greatly benefits the dedicated men and women who work in the animal control profession by reducing the number of cats they must routinely euthanize, which I imagine is the most difficult part of the job,” says Tom.
Feedback received from residents has been very supportive. Residents see TNR as a win for all, particularly when they realize that costs will be reduced because fewer and fewer cats will be killed.
TNR supports NKUT
While the cats in Bountiful and throughout much of Davis County will be much better off because of TNR, the program is also another way to help all of Utah become no-kill. No-Kill Utah (NKUT) is an initiative led by Best Friends Animal Society that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters and a coalition of animal welfare organizations to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters throughout the state.
“The more communities embrace TNR, the more we’ll be able to realize our collective goals for NKUT,” says Arlyn.
Learn more about how Best Friends is helping community cats, and how you can too.