Council Approves Trap-Neuter-Return to Control Population of Feral Cats

Apr 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 

Greater Sudbury Council has approved a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) pilot program to control the number of feral cats in the community. The program will authorize eligible animal welfare and rescue groups to trap, spay or neuter, vaccinate,  ear-tip, microchip and return undomesticated cats to supervised outdoor colonies.

The launch of the TNR pilot completes a new model for municipal animal care and control services based on the principles of responsible pet ownership. Under provincial legislation, Greater Sudbury Animal Shelter is not permitted to release feral cats following capture; however, the city’s new Animal Care and Control By-Law 2017-22 makes participation by rescue groups possible.

“We are extremely grateful to the dedicated volunteers of our local animal welfare and rescue community who have advocated for this program,” said Melissa Laalo, Greater Sudbury Animal Care and Control By-law Coordinator.  “Trap-Neuter-Return has proven effective in other communities to humanely manage feral cat colonies by reducing reproduction, disease and suffering. We invite animal welfare and rescue groups to apply for this important initiative.”

A feral is defined as a cat which has not been sufficiently socialized to humans and is typically not adoptable. Feral cats live out their natural lives in a wild state, using learned skills to survive.

 Groups approved for program eligibility by the City of Greater Sudbury may request up to $100 per trapped feral cat to offset the cost of spaying or neutering, vaccinations, implant of a microchip and ear-tipping to identify altered feral cats.

Once a cat has recovered from surgery and is released back to its feral colony, volunteers are expected to feed and monitor the colony for health issues on an ongoing basis. Groups will also be required to report the location and numbers of each feral cat colony, so that the City can evaluate the effectiveness of the TNR program.

Greater Sudbury Animal Shelter will continue to spay or neuter stray cats and kittens with potential for adoption. A total of $15,000 has been set aside for the TNR program and $20,000 for the Shelter spay and neuter program as previously approved by Council.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is responsible for monitoring Greater Sudbury’s TNR program for humane treatment of cats. A free workshop hosted by the OSPCA for community volunteers on April 28 is currently at capacity. Those attending the workshop at Collège Boréal will access free spay/neuter clinics for feral cats through the Toronto Humane Society, equipment loans and expert advice.

For more information about TNR animal welfare and rescue, please contact Greater Sudbury By-law Compliance and Enforcement Services at