206318 Development of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Policy in New Jersey

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:30 AM

Cheryl A. Maccaroni, Esquire , Department of Law & Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, P.O. Box 094 Lawrenceville, NJ
The New Jersey Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) was created in 2004 by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services. One of the missions of this office was to work in partnership with various government agencies and animal welfare organizations to promote animal health and welfare issues. The OAW also educated the public, as well as the various government agencies, about animal health, safety and welfare matters including feral and stray cats.

Concerns of various local agencies included: possible transmission of rabies and other zoonotic diseases; cost and difficulties of trapping and impoundment; protection of rare, cat-vulnerable wildlife species; and non-lethal methods to humanely manage feral cat populations.

Both the public and private sector looked to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) for guidance. The NJDHSS established a trap-neuter-return (TNR) position which was to allow each municipality to decide for itself whether to embrace TNR as an acceptable means of animal control. NJDHSS emphasized that if a municipality approved TNR at a site, it should be carried out in accordance with appropriate written guidelines.

The OAW studied the many issues associated with free-roaming feral and stray cats. The OAW convened a symposium and invited health officials, animal control officers, animal welfare advocates, wildlife officials and advocates, and other interested parties. Out of this was eventually borne the New Jersey Feral Cat-Wildlife Coalition.

Health professionals should lead the way in building consensus given the fact that feral cat overpopulation can have profound consequences for public health.

Learning Objectives:
Describe steps necessary to legally establish a feral cat control program.

Keywords: Advocacy, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have helped developed the program I'll be discussing and have dealt with related legal issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.