Why trap, neuter and return?
It is estimated that the City of Dallas has approximately 350,000 homeless, wild or untamed cats. Most agree that this population is growing. The Dallas City Council adopted an ordinance proven to reduce the cat population.
The Ordinance – Chapter 7
Section 7-3.1 of the city ordinance makes it a defense to prosecution that the animal is:A feral cat participating in a trap, neuter and return program approved by the Code Compliance director.
What is a trap, neuter and return program?
This means a program approved by the director in which feral cats are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, sterilized, and marked by an identifying ear-tip of the left ear by a veterinarian and returned to the trap location.
What is a feral cat?
A feral cat is any homeless, wild or untamed cat.
Why not trap and euthanize these cats?
The method of trapping and euthanizing was employed by DAS for decades. This method is not effective in controlling the cat population.
The sudden depletion in numbers creates a vacuum that is filled by cats from outside the colony. The result is your neighborhood ends up with more unsterilized cats.
A managed trap, neuter, and return feral cat colony will not be able to reproduce and will keep newcomers out. (Reference: “Understanding Cats: Their History, Nature and Behavior”)
Who is responsible for taking care of these animals?
Every feral cat colony that has been subjected to a trap neuter and return program approved by the code compliance department director will have a colony manager. The colony manager will be responsible for trapping the cats, getting them sterilized, vaccinated, evaluated, and ear-tipped. This person can apply to Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance animal welfare agency to be a colony manager. Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance will issue the colony manager a DAS approved registration certificate. The colony manager will be provided with information and support on feral cat colony management. DAS partners with local feral cat agencies, to provide trapping expertise and ongoing training on colony management. The agencies will assist DAS in educating individual residences and neighborhood associations who have nuisance complaints. The agencies will also assist in providing or referring low cost sterilizations, vaccinations and microchips.
While some assistance may be available, ultimately it is the colony manager’s responsibility to pay whatever costs are incurred, while they are managing the colony.
DAS may revoke the status of any colony manager whose conduct endangers the public health and safety.
How can I apply to be a colony manager?
Obtain an application from Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance (www.feralfriends.org).
What if I don’t want these cats in my neighborhood?
DAS personnel assisted by feral cat groups will be available to address any citizen concerns.
The trap, neuter, return program is a way of reducing neighborhood cats. Studies have shown this program should significantly reduce neighborhood nuisance issues surrounding feral cats.
For more information visit: www.feralfriends.org.
What will happen if I trap a cat?
If you trap a cat that is part of a trap, neuter, return program approved by DAS, the cat may be released back into the colony.
How do I go about obtaining a trap?
Traps can be purchased at most hardware stores or on line. Traps also are available at Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance.
What if I believe these cats are a danger to other domestic animals or to people?
If you believe one or more of these cats poses a danger to the health and safety of you or your pet report it to Dallas Animal Services (DAS) immediately by calling 311.
All bites or other unprovoked aggression toward a human will result in the cat being trapped and tested immediately. Any sick or injured animal should be reported to DAS immediately by calling 311. DAS will rescue the cat and contact the colony manager.
Is the city partnering with any private agencies, in this effort?
Yes, DAS is currently partnering with Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance animal welfare agency.