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Best Friends supports Pompano Beach momentum to adopt humane population control for community cats

KANAB, Utah - Pompano Beach is poised to be the latest community in Florida to join the growing national trend of humanely controlling populations of free-roaming cats.

On Tuesday, July 9, the Pompano Beach City Commission is scheduled to consider a proposal which would allow the animal control department to stop trapping and killing free-roaming, unowned cats, and instead embrace trap/neuter/return (TNR). The cats would be trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to their habitat to live out their lives without breeding.

Peter J. Wolf, Best Friends' cat initiatives analyst said: "Florida has a rich history of proud leadership in the humane management of community cats. At the University of Florida, for example, Dr. Julie Levy, professor of Shelter Medicine and director of Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, has conducted pioneering work demonstrating the numerous benefits of TNR."

"And in Jacksonville, Rick DuCharme, founder and president of First Coast No More Homeless Pets, has been working with community leaders since 2008, with financial support from Best Friends, to make the city's Feral Freedom program a tremendous success. Between 2008 and 2012 more than 18,000 sterilization surgeries have been performed; shelter deaths of community cats dropped from more than 2,400 in fiscal year 2007-2008 to less than 260 in fiscal year 2011-2012 and in 2013 the numbers are trending to be even lower.

Wolf added that, "Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies and reports from high-volume spay/neuter clinics have demonstrated that the vast majority of community cats are as healthy as our beloved pet cats. "The greatest threat to community cats is not to be found on the streets, but in our local shelters, where these shy and fearful cats - typically unadoptable - rarely make it out alive."

National surveys have shown that the public is opposed to the use of lethal control methods for managing shelter populations, and the lethal roundup of community cats. TNR offers an effective, humane alternative. And by sterilizing and vaccinating community cats, TNR programs are one of the most effective ways to promote and protect public health.

With additional financial backing from PetSmart Charities®, Best Friends launched shelter-based, comprehensive community cats programs in San Antonio and Albuquerque. And just last week, a combined three-year $1 million Best Friends community cats program, with generous funding provided by PetSmart Charities®, was announced in Baltimore, with the goal of reducing shelter killing of cats by 25 percent in the first year, and increasing the live release rate of Baltimore's shelter population by 35 percent in the third year.

"Such programs are fast becoming the norm around the country," said Wolf. "From national organizations such as Alley Cat Allies, the Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to small-town grassroots rescue groups, TNR is being promoted and implemented on an unprecedented scale."

"Best Friends is happy to see that the Pompano Beach city commissioners are considering this humane approach to controlling community cat program," said Wolf, "and we believe the evidence speaks for itself: TNR is good for communities and good for the cats."

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society, is a national animal welfare organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets® . The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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