Some individuals have reached out to Iowa Humane Alliance asking for advice or information regarding the new TNR ordinance that is being proposed as an addition to Chapter 23 of Cedar Rapid’s city code. IHA appreciates that the City of Cedar Rapids has recognized the importance of legalizing TNR and that they are requesting input from their community. IHA would like to take this opportunity to provide some information and answer some of the questions that have been asked.
Iowa Humane Alliance has always advocated for TNR as it has proven to be the most effective and humane method to manage community cat populations. Our ITRAPprogram is a valuable resource for community cat caretakers that provides humane traps, TNR workshops, and advice on best practices for colony care.
Currently, in Cedar Rapids, it is illegal to TNR community cats and providing food to them on a regular basis can constitute ownership.
In recent years, surrounding communities have adopted TNR ordinances. Here are some examples:
When reviewing the proposed ordinance, we noted that it seems much more restrictive and contains numerous barriers when compared to what is currently in place and working within our surrounding communities. It is placing an undue burden on citizens that are volunteering their time, money, and energy to help solve a community problem. This proposed ordinance also requires a significant time commitment from Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control. Their valuable resources could be reallocated to implement a Return to Field program or to address more pressing matters and make more effective use of taxpayer dollars.
The language in the proposed ordinance only refers to feral cats. This is how Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control views the difference between a feral cat and stray or community cat:
Feral cats are any cat which is unowned, wild, untamed and unsocialized. Community cats or stray cats are cats that have been socialized to people and can be adopted into homes. TNR targets feral cats. Stray or community cats will be brought to a shelter or rescue to be evaluated and adopted to new homes.
Within national TNR organizations, a community cat is an umbrella term that includes any unowned free-roaming cat that lives outdoors. Both stray and feral cats are community cats that may or may not have a caretaker. They can have a wide range of behaviors and varying degrees of socialization to humans, but they generally do not want to live indoors and are considered unadoptable.
The language in this proposed ordinance should refer to and include community cats as defined by national TNR organizations. It should also consider the position held by the National Animal Care and Control Association regarding community cats. It is the position of NACA that indiscriminate pick up or admission of healthy, free-roaming cats, regardless of temperament, for any purpose other than TNR/SNR, fails to serve commonly held goals of community animal management and protection programs and, as such, is a misuse of time and public funds and should be avoided.
Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control is requesting additional input from the community before they submit the TNR proposal to City Council. We encourage you to follow the link below to voice your opinion and participate in their survey.