Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return

I have recently been getting a number of questions and concerns about a new project I am working on that would formally permit and regulate Trap Neuter Return programs in Minneapolis.

Under the proposal, nonprofit groups working with individual residents would be allowed to conduct what are called “Trap Neuter Release” or “Trap Neuter Return” (TNR) or, more accurately, Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return programs in Minneapolis. The City itself would not be conducting the programs. This proposal would add an additional tool or practice and would not eliminate any of the other policies or practices currently in use by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control staff. Some TNR programs have already been operating in Minneapolis but some of the practices involved conflict with current law. I believe there will be benefits to better regulating them.

I am working on this because I believe that feral cats pose a significant health, safety, livability and environmental concerns in some areas of the city and that our current policies and practices are not effectively addressing these issues. Feral cats are clearly responsible for killing an enormous number of birds and other wildlife in the US each year. Allowing TNR programs to be well-regulated under thoughtful guidelines and with the oversight of our professional Animal Care and Control staff will help us better evaluate their effectiveness. It will also offer us a potentially effective and affordable way to address the out-of-control growth of the populations of wild cats that spread disease, kill birds and other wildlife, create offensive smells, damage property and disturb residents. It will also help us curb the sometimes unwise, although often kind-hearted, efforts of people who try to care for these cats while engaging in behaviors that actually create more problems, including attracting rats, mice and other unwanted pests.

It is my understanding that colony of neutered cats is less likely to grow. Cats are territorial. The presence of healthy, neutered animals will discourage other feral cats from moving in. Neutered cats are less likely to fight among themselves, contract disease or spread disease and spray urine. Over time, my hope is that their numbers will actually decrease, as no new kittens are born. If not spayed, females can have several litters each year. It has been estimated that if one cat had only one litter of five kittens per year, and each of her female offspring has a single litter per year, that cat would be responsible for producing over three hundred cats in just four years. Returning a neutered cat to this niche will, TNR advocates hope, prevent this explosive population growth.

One thing I want to be clear about is that the ordinance changes I am proposing will not take any current tool away from Animal Control staff. It will only add another tool into the mix. Animal Control staff will still have the authority to kill a stray cat after it has been held for the necessary time (5 days), has been checked for Identification to return it to an owner and has been an assessed to determine if it is suitable for adoption. Last year, the city took in 303 live cats suspected of being feral. Of those, 23 left the facility alive, either reunited with an owner, to another shelter or to a new owner after being adopted. Seven died while in the facility and 270 were euthanized.

Even if the law is changed to permit organizations to implement TNR programs, I don’t expect the number of cats being killed to go down immediately. Over time, however, as more cats are sterilized and returned to their caretakers, the number of feral cats being brought in may indeed go down as fewer cats are born.

TNR programs are allowed in many cities throughout North America, including St. Paul. Here is something from Project TNR, a program of Animal Protection League of New Jersey, where TNR has been being practiced for several years.

“Trap-Neuter-Return, commonly referred to as “TNR”, is the only method proven to be effective, humane and cost effective in controlling feral cat population growth. Using this technique, all the feral cats in a colony are trapped, neutered and then returned to their territory where caregivers provide them with regular food and shelter. Young kittens who can still be socialized, as well as friendly adults, are placed in foster care and eventually adopted out to good homes.

“TNR has many advantages. It immediately stabilizes the size of the colony by eliminating new litters. The nuisance behavior often associated with feral cats is dramatically reduced including the yowling and fighting that come with mating activity and the odor of unneutered males spraying to mark their territory.

“Another significant advantage to TNR is that, when practiced on a large scale, it lessens the number of kittens and cats flowing into local shelters. This results in lower euthanasia rates and the increased adoption of cats already in the shelters. For example, in San Francisco, after TNR had been widely implemented for six years, euthanasia rates for all cats, feral and domestic, declined by 71 percent. San Diego, after several years of TNR, also experienced substantially lower euthanasia rates.”

We still have a ways to go before our ordinance will be written and ready for a public hearing. In that time I am hoping to hear about all the issues and concerns people have so that we can address them as best we can. So please feel free to write to me with more questions or concerns.

So far, we have established a working group comprised of city staff, and representatives from Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance, Audubon Minnesota, the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Advisory Committee, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection and the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis. This group will provide input and feedback as the details of the proposal are developed.

It’s clear to me that the current tools available to the City’s Animal Care and Control department are not effectively reducing the numbers of feral cats in Minneapolis. This has many negative consequences for wildlife and livability. I believe that Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return programs may offer a promising, affordable and humane method of reducing feral cat numbers, while also protecting public health and reducing impact on wildlife. If well regulated and operated, I think a TNR program is worth trying in Minneapolis. As with any policy I work to put in place, I will evaluate the success of this initiative. If, after a few years, it proves to have increased rather than reduced the numbers of feral cats in Minneapolis, I will advocate for ending it.

For information about the programs in New Jersey that might be a model for our’s visit


You can also learn more and watch a short introductory video on the subject here


At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Jennyr Edgerton said...

I couldn't find a copy of your proposed ordinance on the City of Minneapolis website. Shouldn't I be able to find a copy, since it had its first reading in city council? By the way, I support TNR as the only feral cat population control method documented to work in areas like Minneapolis (Trap and Kill has been documented to work on relatively small islands, never in a continental area). It must be combined with owner education in cat reproduction, spay-neuter support and the importance of keeping owned cats inside. Urban cats appear to catch more small mammals (mice and rats, for instance) than birds...

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Nature Advocate said...

Be cautious about using any cats taken from outdoors for adoption or you could be held criminally responsible. There's no way to know a wild-harvested cats' vaccination history, if any, nor their exposure to all the deadly diseases cats carry. If a cat has contracted rabies then a vaccination later will do no good. It's already too late. There's no reliable known test for rabies while keeping the animal alive. They need to be destroyed after they are trapped. It's the only sane and sensible solution. This is why all wild-harvested animals of any type intended for the pet-industry must undergo an extended quarantine up to 6 months before transfer or sale of those animals to prevent just these things. You're risking this following story happening in every shelter across the land.

Google for: rabid cat adopted wake county

Another, Google for: rabid kitten jamestown exposure

Adopting any cat that's been taken from outdoors is just playing Russian Roulette.

These are just the diseases they've been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, and Rat-Bite Fever can now also be added to that list.

Cat-Transmitted PLAGUE:

Tularemia (rabbit-fever, transmissible to humans):

Flea-borne Typhus:

Cats' most insidious disease of all, their Toxoplasma gondii parasite they spread through their excrement into all other animals. This is how humans get it in their dinner-meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms. This is why cats are routinely destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. So those animals won't suffer from the same things that can happen to the unborn fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.) It can make you blind or even kill you at any time during your life once you've been infected. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, killing you when your immune system becomes compromised by disease or chemo and immunosuppressive therapies. It can last over a year in any soils or waters and not even washing your hands or garden vegetables in bleach will destroy the oocysts. Contrary to cat-lovers' self-deceptive myths, a cat can become reinfected many times during its life and spread millions of oocysts each time. It's now linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, and brain cancers. This parasite is also killing off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from cats' T. gondii oocysts in run-off from the land, the oocysts surviving even in saltwater. Its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are attracted to cat urine.

Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are actually attracted to cat urine.

Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases. If you want rodents keep cats outside to attract diseased rodents to your area. I experienced this phenomenon (as have many others), and all rodent problems disappeared after I shot and buried every last cat on my land.

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Nature Advocate said...

The ONLY veterinarians and groups supporting the COMPLETELY INHUMANE practice of TNR are those that financially benefit from all the hundreds of thousands of dollars that PetSmart and other petfood companies hand-out as "seed money" cash-grants and pleas for donations by exploiting suffering animals. The more suffering cat-mouths that they can all keep alive to torture to death by "attrition" and torture all wildlife to death with their cats, the more they all benefit financially. This is ONLY about the money being made by letting cats and animals suffer to death.


ALL respectable veterinarians and others with the least bit of credible education and morality speak out strongly against TNR. Educate yourselves as well about this morally reprehensible TNR "business".

You can start the process by Googling for these postings (include the quotes for each full search-string):

"The TNR Con-Game"
(Lists and dispels some of the most prevalent lies told by TNR cat-hoarders.)

"Here's another fun aspect of TNR that TNR LIARS never bother to tell anyone"
(TNR con-artist liars are now clipping cats ears only without sterilizing nor vaccines to save money and protect any stray cat from being trapped and euthanized, proof is included in that post.)


"Licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem." AND "I don't see anyone dumping cats where I live anymore." AND "irreversible consequences"
(This posting contains the ONLY method that actually works 100%, is affordable by anyone or any size of community, and is a PERMANENT fix in less than a year!)

Bonus Info: Now you'll know the underlying reason why cat-lickers do this in the first place. Even they aren't aware of why they are more than happy to throw their cats under the wheels of moving cars and still claim they love cats, and why they can't stop them selves from doing so. Google for (include quotes):

Cats "Human Territorial Behavior By Expendable Proxy"

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Nature Advocate said...

Anyone who feeds stray cats is training them to approach humans for food (contrary to them always claiming feral cats run from humans). What happens to the child or foolish adult that reaches down to pet or try to pick up that now seemingly friendly "cute kitty"? The wild animal lashes out and bites or scratches the hand that has no food for them.

Google for: feral cat attack rabies

Don't be surprised at the number of search-hits you get or the thousands of horrendous stories that go with them. The number of suspected rabies cases and the then-required mandatory rabies shots for each individual costing them well over $3000 out of their own pockets, has been growing as exponentially fast as cats breed. Ask a stray-cat feeder to pay for your shots and lost work-time and suffering? Neither they, nor shelters, nor the local government who supports free-roaming cats carry ONE PENNY of liability insurance for the deadly dangers they are bringing to their communities by allowing them to feed stray cats. Two recent reports even document rabid cats entering a home through their pet-door and one even came through their ceiling searching for human-supplied foods -- one attack so bad it required hospitalization for the family. People who don't destroy all free-roaming cats are ignorant and foolish to the point of being criminally negligent by not doing so.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Nature Advocate said...

TNR does NOTHING to prevent rabies outbreaks. This is precisely what happened not long ago in Carlsbad, New Mexico (and many other places). When a TNR colony caused an outbreak of rabies and everyone's healthy pets (dogs and cats, more than 50 of them) within the vicinity of that TNR colony, and all the livestock near that colony, (as well as every last TNR'ed cat), had to be euthanized -- thanks to people who TNR cats, erroneously thinking that if they vaccinate cats the problem was over. Not to mention all the people who had to pay for their own rabies shots (the owners of those pets and livestock and those living in proximity of that TNR colony). And get this, they even promised to start up their TNR practices again after the threat of rabies has died down. Are people really this phenomenally stupid? (yes, you have to ask?)

Don't believe me?

Or Google for: Carlsbad TNR Rabies Outbreak


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