Feral Cat Control and Government Policy: Lobbying for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Want to lobby for trap-neuter-return? It's important to do some research about your local community cat situation, elected officials and current ordinances prior to starting your campaign to advocate for TNR.

Table of Contents
1.) Introduction
2.) Structure of your local government
3.) Current community cat situation
4.) Elected officials
5.) Current elected officials
6.) Miscellaneous notes about current elected officials
7.) Local government meetings
8.) Current ordinance and/or regulatory obstacles to TNR
9.) Animal shelters / animal control
10.) Available resources
11.) Preparing your PowerPoint presentation
12.) Additional resources

1.) Introduction

Lobbying for animal welfare issues is an essential component to saving lives and improving conditions for animals in your community. To do so effectively, you must understand the reality behind the issues and obtain the necessary knowledge to strategically operate within the structure of your local government.

Once you understand local government processes, it’s important to conduct thorough research to understand who may be impacted by any trap-neuter-return (TNR) ordinance changes. It is also important to understand the background and interests of the audience — researching the political affiliation, voting records, and, to the extent possible, the ideologies of each of your elected town officials. This knowledge is powerful and vital for maximizing your presentation’s persuasive impact. So, do your homework, answering the following questions before you start your campaign to advocate for TNR.

Back to top

2.) Structure of your local government

Every town or municipality is different, so it’s important to determine how your local government is structured. This information will likely be available on the town’s website, or you can call your local courthouse or government complex. You can also go to your local library and check with the information desk for assistance. Generally, the governing body consists of a mayor (or other executive), city (or town) council and/or a county commission or council.

What is the local governing body? _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How often do the decision-makers meet? _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

What are the names and locations of all animal shelters and animal control facilities that the local government oversees?
_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

What is the jurisdiction (the area over which their authority extends) for each shelter and animal control facility? _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

What type of access to public information is available in your state: Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), FoI (Freedom of Information), public access (sunshine) laws?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

What other local branches of government (e.g., public health department, zoning department, etc.) may have an interest in a TNR ordinance? _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

3.) Current community cat situation

Estimated number of cats: __________

Is rabies present in your area? _____ Yes _____ No

Number of rabid wild animals (during the past five years): _______

Number of rabid cats: _______

Are free-roaming cats currently being vaccinated and sterilized? _____ Yes _____ No

If so, under what programs?
_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of governmental staff trapping free-roaming cats for TNR: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of governmental staff trapping free-roaming cats to be killed: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Names of governmental staff responding to free-roaming cat complaints:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

4.) Elected officials

Names of elected officials who understand and support TNR:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Names of elected officials opposed to TNR: 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Have elected officials responded positively to animal issues in the past?
_____ Yes _____ No

If yes, which ones? 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

What is the political climate regarding animal welfare? 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

5.) Current elected officials

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________________________________________________

Name of administrative assistant: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________________________________________________________

Political affiliation: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Number of years in office: _____________________________________________________________________________________

End of election cycle: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal interests: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Organization affiliations: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Personal contacts who know him/her personally:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

6.) Miscellaneous notes about current elected officials

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

7.) Local government meetings

Frequency of meetings: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Meeting location: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Is the room A/V accessible (for doing a PowerPoint presentation)? _____________________________________________________________________________________

What is the chain of command? _____________________________________________________________________________________

What is the deadline for getting an issue on the agenda? _____________________________________________________________________________________

How long is a person allowed to speak? _____________________________________________________________________________________

Is there additional time available for questions? _____ Yes _____ No

Back to top

8.) Current ordinance and/or regulatory obstacles to TNR

Pet limit:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Feeding restrictions/bans: _____________________________________________________________________________________

At-large provision(s) related to cats: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Trapping permit requirements (if any): _____________________________________________________________________________________

Cat licensing requirements: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Unsanitary condition definition (typically under the department of health):

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Other restrictions or regulations: 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

9.) Animal shelters / animal control

Annual intake/admissions numbers: Cats ______ Kittens ______

Euthanasia numbers: Cats/socialized ______ Cats/unsocialized ______ Kittens ______

Annual adoption rate: Cats ______ Kittens ______

Nuisance complaint calls: Per month ______ Per year ______

Annual budget: ____________ Percentage funded by taxpayers: ________

Grants or other sources of funding being received for local programs: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Shelter or animal control’s policy for free-roaming cats: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Shelter or animal control’s philosophy toward TNR: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Does the shelter or animal control lend traps? _____ Yes _____ No

Rental fee: _____________________

Length of rental agreement: ________________________

Does the shelter or animal control trap cats? _____ Yes _____ No

Does the shelter have an owner relinquishment fee? _____ Yes _____ No

If so, what is the cost? _________________________

Back to top

10.) Available resources

Other community groups or 501(c)(3) nonprofits addressing the needs of cats: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Areas of focus for local animal welfare groups: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Other groups that can assist with TNR efforts: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Local low-cost spay/neuter services for free-roaming cats: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Community cat-friendly veterinarians: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Buy-in from government officials: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Volunteers:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Fundraising or grant opportunities: _____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Other:
_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Back to top

11.) Preparing your PowerPoint presentation

As part of the toolkit, we have provided a generic PowerPoint that you can customize and use to make a presentation to city officials to educate them about the benefits and efficacy of TNR. Here are some tips for preparing your PowerPoint presentation:

  • Concisely organize the presentation. You don’t want to lose the attention of your audience.
  • Include your contact information so audience members can contact you if they have questions later.
  • Adequately address the problems with the current system, whether it’s trap-and-kill or some other method.
  • Highlight the philosophical shift in animal control that has occurred around the country.
  • Stress the specific benefits of TNR.
  • Use statistics from other cities or towns with successful TNR programs.
  • Assign talking points to all speakers (no more than three points per speaker).
  • Explain exactly what it is you’re asking for.
  • Make paper copies of the entire PowerPoint presentation beforehand and give one to every elected official. (Time constraints can cut your presentation short, so distributing paper copies will ensure that officials get the entire presentation.)

Back to top

12.) Additional resources

Save Them All

Click here to download and print this document. (PDF 66 KB)

Back to top