Tumwater board lobbies for support for community cat scheme and reminder to allow your pets

By Jerome Tuaño

The Tumwater Public Health and Safety Committee recommended an ordinance amending the municipal code to provide a definition of ‘community cats’ at a meeting held yesterday, November 8.

Community cats will be defined as loose cats that are cared for by one or more residents in an area. These cats are not considered pets and do not belong to anyone.

Joint Animal Services executive director Sarah Hock said the updated language will help them better implement a new program for cats that involves a method called trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR).

“It’s a decentralized, non-lethal technique that employs community members to help animal control officers manage the cat population,” Hock said. “Cats are humanely trapped, neutered and neutered, vaccinated, fitted with earmolds and released back into the community they came from.”

Hocks explained that this approach is more effective than the catch-and-kill method, which most animal shelters implement.

“[Catch-and-kill method] relies on an inefficient and expensive model,” Hock explained, “where animal control officers round up cats and attempt to adopt them in small numbers, then euthanize the remaining cats at a local shelter.

Hocks reassured that the TNVR method does not bring more stray cats to an area. “These cats were already there. We are not adding additional cats to any areas,” Hocks said. “With neutering, neutering and vaccination, and putting them back in the same community… what we’re doing is taking away the ability to reproduce.”

In addition to establishing additional language, the proposed order also makes it a civil offense if one does not license a pet that it may own. The current version of the municipal code states that only cats and dogs must be registered.

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Jennifer R. Strohm