Protecting TNR Efforts and Feral Cats in Texas - National Humane Education Society
May 22, 2023
To the Texas Humane Legislation Network for playing a vital role in creating House Bill 3660 and to Representatives Cody Vasut (R-Angleton) and Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) for introducing this bill in an effort to protect trap, neuter, return (TNR) programs in Texas. HB 3660 clarifies that releasing a feral cat back into the wild after being spayed or neutered is not considered cruelty to nonlivestock animals.
Feral cats can be found in communities throughout the United States. Their numbers increase around a constant food and water source provided by compassionate individuals whose houses the felines visit. The kind act of feeding one cat can quickly become a complex problem when six or more cats join the first one. When left without a plan of action to spay or neuter these homeless cats, six cats can explode into twenty cats.
Feral cat colonies arise from human negligence. This negligence may stem from 1) a lack of education on the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals, 2) an inability to afford the spay or neuter surgery, or 3) a blatant lack of care. Whatever the reasons may be, many kindhearted individuals and animal welfare groups have taken it upon themselves to decrease the feral cat populations in their areas. This is accomplished through TNR or trap, neuter, vaccinate, and return (TNVR) programs. These programs provide a viable and humane solution to keep feral cat colonies from exploding out of control.
According to a news article, Representatives Vasut and Cain introduced House Bill 3660 to protect TNR/TNVR programs in Texas due to the current wording of the Texas Penal Code § 42.092 regarding cruelty to nonlivestock animals. Under the current law, individuals participating in TNR/TNVR programs could potentially be charged with abandoning a cat that they trapped and released back into the location they were found after being spayed or neutered. This bill came to fruition through the tireless efforts of the Texas Humane Legislation Network.
The House and Senate have favorably supported HB 3660, and the bill is waiting for Governor Abbott’s signature. Do you support efforts to decrease the population of feral cats humanely? To learn more about the effectiveness of TNR, please order or download NHES’ brochure here.