TNR – The feral solution

Most communities hold the belief that if there is a stray and/or feral animal “situation” or “overpopulation” in their area, the best way to handle it is to trap these animals and kill them.  However, it has been proven time and again that removing a population slowly and killing them does not have a negative effect on the stray population.  Rather, (channel high school biology!) the ecological system of a specific community can support a certain number of stray dogs and/or feral and stray cats.  Let’s pretend that number is 100.  If you trap and kill ten, you still have ninety and since the environment can support 100, those ninety will quickly reproduce and get back to their capacity in no less than two months. 

Granted those numbers are completely made up, but biology teaches us that there are ecological niches and a general number of a certain species can be supported by it.  So the best way to control the strays is not to try to trap and kill all of them.  You will never get to all of them, and they will reproduce just as fast as they can be caught and killed.  This has been proven time and again in communities all over the world.  The community recognizes that they have a lot of strays/ferals, and maybe one of these animals hurt a person so the government is now paying attention.  They decide the best course of action is to trap all these animals and kill them, yet months or even years later the number of animals has not changed.

The best way to handle a stray and/or feral population is to trap, neuter (and vaccinate) and release the animals (TNR).  Once released, they are unable to reproduce, are vaccinated with a three year rabies shot so rabies will not be an issue, and hold the ecological niche population in place.  Most communities that have implemented this way of handling their stray and feral populations have also found that some of these animals are adoptable (not completely wild).  These animals are then fixed, vaccinated and adopted out to a loving home.  The animals that are trapped that prove to be wild are therefore simply returned to their habitat once they have recovered from their vet visit.

Please contact your local shelter/animal control facility and ask them what their procedure is for feral cats/dogs.  Strongly encourage them to adopt the Trap/Neuter/Release program for the ferals that cannot be domesticated.  I can provide you with specific evidence of how this works better than trapping and killing if you feel you need it to make your case.  For more information about TNR and other nokill solutions, check out Nathan Winograd’s book, Redemption.  Thanks!

One response to “TNR – The feral solution

  1. Pingback: Identifying a Fixed Feral Cat | Jenna Riedi

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