Humane Law Passed in Utah to Deal with Feral Cats

Utah lawmakers have turned down a proposed bill that would have let any member of the public shoot an animal they believed to be feral.

In response, Senator Dennis Stowell introduced State Bill 57.This bill will humanely deal with the stray cat population in Utah by allowing animal control officers to capture the feral cats, sterilize and fix them and then release the cat back to their original location.

This process overrides a three-day holding period that is required for cats that will potentially go up for adoption. Because these cats are feral, SB 57 will save the state time and money by controlling the population in a humane manner, rather than having the public take the matter into their own hands by having the right to kill any cat they assume is feral.

All cats brought into this program will be registered and records will be kept on their colonies’ location. Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society said, “It will be more cost effective than the annual killing of thousands of cats and provide communities with a proven, humane approach to lowering the populations of homeless or unclaimed cats.”

Related Stories:

Rescue of the Week: Faith Saves Breadcrumb-Eating Kitten

10 Year-Old Boys Save Frozen Kitten

BYU Taking the Wrong Route for Feral Cats


Photo Credit: Perfectyello


Mikaila H.
Mikaila H.5 years ago

That is so good - more places should do that. Although those cat's released could still do alot of harm, atleast they won't be adding to the population. I would've thought there would be a cost issue with this though. Anyway I'm glad they're doing it and thanks for sharing.

Jami Winn
Jami Winn5 years ago

wow thats actually i very good idea it controls the population and gives them a chance for a home and even if they don't get one they still get released back to their original location not bad i kinda like it

Little Star
Little Star5 years ago

I understood you, Sheri and just as you continued to explain why we advocate this system in your answer to me (knowing that I am well aware of this already)...I was doing the same gesture..hoping our words break through the blocks.
.Ya know ...I think I actually like that idea of culling of the destructive species first...May I start with the stupid?
(ok ok...I was joking too............I think)
We will always have those who will argue with us..refuse to see the value of a proven system of operation, because their minds are set steadfast, even if what they conclude is absolute, is in fact a fallacy...but we'll keep trying...I'm right there beside you, Sheri... = ^ . .^ =

Sheri Giardini
Sheri Giardini5 years ago

To Little Star: You are right; a small (but important) minority of adult ferals are adoptable (considerably more of the kittens are if trapped young enough). My point to Jeffrey S. was that for most trapped adult feral cats, the only real options are euthanasia and release; since TNR is a workable solution, euthanasia should only be performed on seriously ill and suffering feral cats. His assertion that trap/euthanize programs effectively reduce feral cat numbers is fallacious; these programs usually continue to trap higher numbers of cats over the years as cats migrate into the "vacuums" created and repeatedly reproduce. I also marvel at the notion that a population of any predator (indigenous or otherwise) that is perceived to be too numerous or harmful to the rest of the environment should be largely rounded up and killed-- using that logic, we human beings should be at the top of the "culling" list! (RELAX-- I'm being facetious-- I don't advocate this treatment for human beings, or any other species-- I merely point out that the "damage" that others contend some flora and fauna species cause to the environment PALES in comparison to that caused by 6.5 billion human "super-predators" that consume mind-boggling amounts of resources while they simultaneously poison the air, land, and water.)

Little Star
Little Star5 years ago

Sheri. DVM. said;" ear tipping (a visual marking procedure performed under anesthesia to identify already neutered cats should they be re-trapped) "and I add -also for people who may see wandering cats or colonies gathering and be able to identify that the numbers have already had all necessary procedures and tests/Vacs done, so that they will not complain, or assume they are ill or carriers of disease.
I'm not arguing with you, Sheri, but some ferals are adoptable. It just takes years of restoring faith...but I've done it in the hundred fold. Only had about 10 out of 300, or so, that I was unsuccessful with. The trouble, now, is that the economy is stopping many people from wanting to adopt any animals...they seem to be dumping or harming (attempting to kill) so many now. All that's needed for the TNR programs to succeed indefinitely is a devoted Monitor.
It's just too bad we can't convince those who have the mindset that ferals are see the reality of the program.
Not gonna stop us continuing to try though, is it?..... : D

Sheri Giardini
Sheri Giardini5 years ago

To Jeffrey S.: You stated that you are a retired wildlife biologist; I am an experienced, practicing small animal veterinarian who has frequently provided medical services for "trap/neuter/return(release)" (TNR) programs in the form of spay/neuter surgery, Felv/FIV testing, rabies/panleukopenia/Felv vaccination, parasite treatment, and ear tipping (a visual marking procedure performed under anesthesia to identify already neutered cats should they be re-trapped). I can assure you that the work is not personally profitable for the veterinarian; I continue to provide such services because my clinical impression (though necessarily anecdotal) is that TNR programs provide a more humane and effective alternative to "trap and euthanize" efforts (feral cats are not adoptable, and thus can only be killed or released). However, as we are both scientists, we appreciate the value of evidence-based research with sound methodologies. I refer you to the "Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return" page on the Alley Cat Allies website ( for just a partial list of the many studies which support the efficacy of TNR; the website also provides several well-argued scientific discourses discrediting other studies that purported to show feral cats as the leading cause of various declining bird populations. The evidence is overwhelming that such bird number losses (as for MOST animals) are primarily due to HUMAN activities, such as habitat destruction and pesticide usage.

Christina S.
Christina S.5 years ago

I am so happy that they did not make it legal to harm homeless cats or any other domesticated animals in Utah there's no need for that we need to take control by being responsible for our animals everywhere all the time and keep them safe!

Jamaka P.
Jamaka P.5 years ago

Thank God for this. Cats are the world's and nation's most popular and beloved companion by far, and as cats have been "domesticated" by humans, it is our personal and collective duty to care for them. Failure to spay/neuter, the financial/foreclosure crisis, and some people's callousness and/or ignorance has brought about the great number of feral cats, who have been shown in numerous international studies to be best managed by TNR and colony caretakers.

The cat-hating public and their bird fanatic counterparts are seeking to push their own intolerant agenda by trying to undermine laws in all 50 states protecting ALL cats. Do not be misled or deceived -- the national and other bird groups and some of the "environmental" groups are behind this, and they must be stopped. As for bird predation, HUMANS are birds' number one enemy, with our pollution, overpopulation, habitat destruction, runaway development and pesticides. Dogs do plenty of damage to birds, as well as causing human injuries and deaths via their aggression, and polluting the environment with their wastes. If the bird fanatics want to go after someone, let them go after humans and dogs.

Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan5 years ago

Euthanising an animal should only ever be a last resort such as when an animal is in horrific pain. Not just because it doesn't have a home.

Jeffrey S.
Jeff Smith5 years ago

To start with, I must say that I am not a cat hater, at least not an indoor cat hater. To the alleged scientific evidence supporting "TNR", I say, show me the science! Although some feral cats may indeed move into a territory vacated by the removal of animals that previously occupied the area, the net effect would almost certainly have to reduce the total feral cat population, thus benefiting the native songbird/mammal/herptofauna population, which lose hundreds, if not thousands, of millions of animals a year to predation by feral and (outdoor roaming) pet cats. I can't say that I could kill any animal - even a feral cat - myself but I do applaud the efforts of those that can - as long as it's done in a humane manner. (Incidentally, I am a retired wildlife biologist)