Health, Politics, Sci-Tech

Olszewski announces legislation to expand Baltimore County’s humane approach for stray, feral cats

TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Olszewski on Monday announced plans to introduce the Joy Freedman Care for Cats Act, which would formalize Baltimore County’s existing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) pilot program to humanely and effectively maintain the free-roaming cat populations.

“We know that TNR is an ethical, humane, and non‐lethal way to lower our County’s free-roaming cat population,” Olszewski said. “Affirming the County’s existing pilot program into law will help ensure we continue to responsibly address the number of feral cats in our communities.”

The Joy Freedman Care for Cats Act would codify a Trap-Neuter-Return program in the County Code and require the Health Officer to establish guidelines and procedures for a TNR Program.

TNR involves the humane trapping of cats that reside outside and show no signs of having been owned. Once trapped, a cat is sterilized, vaccinated, and ear-tipped at a surgical center, and then returned to the area where they were originally found.

TNR responsibly reduces the population of free-roaming cats in communities, protects human health by vaccinating the cats against rabies and is supported by leading animal advocacy organizations, including the ASPCA and the Humane Society. BCAS has operated a pilot TNR program since 2015.

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Baltimore County would join Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George’s County, as well as numerous jurisdictions nationwide, in operating a TNR program.

This bill is named in memory of Joy Freedman, a founding member of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission and lifelong animal advocate.

“The Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission is deeply grateful to County Executive Olszewski and his team for creating this legislation, codifying TNR in Baltimore County,” said Deborah Stone Hess, Chair of the Animal Services Advisory Commission. “Naming the bill for Joy gives it special meaning, incorporating her deep love for animals into a new law protecting cats on our county’s streets.”

The Joy Freedman Care for Cats Act will be introduced at the County Council meeting on Monday, October 4th.

Photo via Pixabay

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