continued Tully added that he believes under certain circumstances TNR could be criminal behavior. He said there is a difference between someone returning the animal to its home as opposed to releasing it into the wild.
The positions of larger advocacy groups show the trickiness of the issue.
The New York State Humane Association doesn’t support it “except in rare supervised instances” where the feral cat colony is safe from environmental extremes, human cruelty and vehicular death. Also, there would need to be long-term care provided for the animals by caregiver staff. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conversely states TNR is “the only humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies,” as stated on its website.
Tully said the county SPCA isn’t affiliated with the ASPCA and he said the county SPCA doesn’t support or oppose TNR.
Tully said the controversy over TNR is primarily focused on female cats being spayed, because oftentimes the feral cat is released into the wild out of veterinarian care before stitches heal. Male cats require less time to recover fully from surgery.
“It is a shame that such a simple thing of catching feral cats is such a complicated legal problem,” Tully said. “There is no case law to support the arrest of everybody doing it.”
But the most important factor is economics.
“The amount of time and energy we would have to exhaust to prove somebody is doing that would be extensive,” he said, “The economics require us to prioritize the cases we handle.”