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Best Friends Animal Society Applauds Illinois Department of Natural Resources Policy Change on Feral Cats

DNR will no longer oppose trap-neuter-return policies on lands it does not manage

Kanab, UT - Best Friends Animal Society applauds a key policy change by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that removes DNR's opposition to trap-neuter-return programs (TNR) on all lands not owned, managed, or leased by the Illinois DNR. Trap-Neuter-Return programs are vital to humane management and reducing of feral and barn cat populations. TNR models have the potential to save millions more in taxpayer dollars than the outdated model of capture, house, and ultimately killing cats, in addition to more effectively reducing cat populations, and reducing killing in shelters.

"TNR programs are a common-sense, cost-effective solution to manage feral cat populations," said Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society. "These programs provide a no-kill alternative to a traditional model of removing cats from areas to be killed at the local shelter. Thank you to Sen. Linda Holmes and Rep. Greg Harris, as well as well as the Illinois DNR and numerous partners who have weighed in on this issue, for recognizing the impact that this policy change will have on humanely reducing cat populations."

One peer-reviewed scientific study showed that, in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, a TNR program resulted in an average 54 percent decrease from initial population levels of free-roaming cats and an average 82 percent decrease from peak levels.

"This is a welcome change to DNR's policy that mirrors state law's embrace of TNR and will allow for greater use of trap-neuter-return programs to better manage cat populations around the state," said Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). "Thank you to Best Friends Animal Society for bringing this important issue to light and making a difference in the lives of animals and residents in our state."

Best Friends is the leading organization for trap-neuter-return programs, operating more full-scale community cat programs than any other organization in the country. More than 120,000 community cats have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor communities since the first full-scale Best Friends community cat program was launched in 2012. Currently, cats are killed in shelters at a rate of 2:1 to dogs, and community cat programs have improved save rates by 80 percent in the communities where they exist.

About Best Friends Animal Society 

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org. 

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