American Bar Association votes paws-up for TNR

August 22, 2017

In a decision that will have wide and positive implications for cats, the American Bar Assocation’s House of Delegates voted last week to support programs that sterilize and return unowned cats to the community.

The resolution supports both government policies and legislation establishing and allowing trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNR or TNVR) and return-to-field (RTF) programs.

In an analysis of the vote on the ABA Journal website, Debra Cassens Weiss wrote:

The measure was proposed by the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Such programs could protect community cat caregivers from liability, would help control the cat population, and would promote humane treatment of the cats, according to the section’s report to the House of Delegates.

Most jurisdictions’ laws don’t recognize TNVR programs. In some cases, legal challenges have resulted in rulings that aspects of the programs violate criminal and civil statutes, the report says.

Those who care for community cats might be found in violation of criminal or civil laws requiring licensing or limiting cat ownership. “Because of these concerns,” the report says, “laws defining owner should exempt community cat caregivers, and at-large laws, stray-hold periods, and licensing requirements should exempt” community cats that are ear-tipped to designate that they have been sterilized and vaccinated. Abandonment and no-feedings laws should also exempt those who care for returned community cats, the report says.

The American Bar Association has over 400,000 members, and is “committed to supporting the legal profession with practical resources for legal professionals while improving the administration of justice, accrediting law schools, establishing model ethical codes, and more.”

The complete resolution can be read here, and the rest of the analysis is on the ABA Journal website.

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  1. Thank you for seeing the logic behind TNR….. Care givers are not only struggling with civil but criminal. Some of us are actually singled out because of one cat hater on city counsil or a secratary on the city staff. To have an act you have been preforming for seven years suddenly be illegal, hundreds of cats sterlized, vaccinated and cared for. Towns people approaching them when a house cat becomes lost. To have a compassionate service become “criminal” , leading to innocent suffering at the hands of the guitly is flat wrong. Even if that fact is considered in the abscense of change is nice.

    Comment by Tammy — August 22, 2017 @ 7:04 pm

  2. The TNVR program in in Orange County VA is now working to TNVR 12 cats asap because animal control told the caretaker she was going to fined in 10 day because “if you feed them, you own them” I get so disheartened by antiqueted cruel thinking!

    Comment by Terri Smith — January 20, 2018 @ 8:02 pm

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