Big Win for Feral Cats in Utah

Among many controversial bills that were up for vote in the recent Utah legislature, one of them put feral cats right in the crosshairs. The bill, House Bill 210, was proposed by Rep. Curtis Oda. The bill would allow anyone to kill an animal that they judged to be feral and would provide an exemption from cruelty charges for that person. Obviously this kind of language opened a pathway for animals to be killed that were possibly family pets, as well as being an ineffective way of dealing with the feral cat population.

Best Friends Animal Society worked hard to spread the word and mobilize constants to voice their objections. They also sought to educate people on the program that they use, which is both human and effective, in helping with the feral cat problem. They worked hard with committee members to strip down the bill, thinking that would be the end of it.

However, Oda’s bill made a comeback in a weakened form and passed the Utah House. The revived bill would still make it legal to shoot cats or other feral animals in unincorporated areas. Luckily the bill never made it before the Senate, and was not passed into law.

The real victory was in the passing of Utah Senate Bill 57, a bill that Best Friends presented together with Senator Dennis Stowell. The bill officially sanctions their TNR (trap, neuter, return) program as a viable and humane solution to community cat management. They have seen great success in using this program.

The bill also extends the “hold time” in shelters from three to five days, giving more animals a chance to find a new home or for their owners to locate their lost pets.


photo from gabirro

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Jami Winn
Jami Winn4 years ago

victory with a capitol V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

Tammy McKee
Tammy McKee4 years ago

They need to increase the number of days.

Kelly Stephens
Kelly Stephens4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Kelly Stephens
Kelly Stephens4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Judith Howard
Judith Howard4 years ago

3 to 5 days is not enough time. A better bill is needed.

Janet Ives
Janet Ives4 years ago

I cannot believe that shelters operating without a NOKILL policy can actually get volunteers to work such a system. I have worked in rescue for decades but I would not put in a single day for an organisation which kills after 3, 5, or any other amount of days. That is not rescue it is carnage!!!!

Doug G.
Doug G.4 years ago

It is hard to believe Best Friends makes its home in Utah. I guess we should thank them for shedding some intellect into that ultra conservative hell hole of a state.

Suzanna van der Voort

Good news, BUT " to extend the "hold time" in shelters from three to five days" is NOT enough to rehome them or find their owners! A better law should be: NO-kill shelters, harsh punishments for the owners when they dump their cat as waste, a better neuter and spay education, starting in schools for children ánd parents. Fact is: when this was all about human children who were living on the streets...they were not killed after 3 or 5 days...

Jeanette Steffi G.

Kudos to Best Friends Society! They're doing so much and going so far to help our voiceless friends.

Zoltán B.
Zoltán B.4 years ago

Three cheers for the cats! MEOW! MEOW! MEOW!