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Education, Not Regulation, Characterizes New Law Affecting TNR in New York City

(Photo by Maggie O'Neill)
(Photo by Maggie O'Neill)
On August 22, 2012, the New York City Council unanimously passed Intro 918, amending the administrative code of the City of New York relating to trap-neuter-return (TNR) information and activities in New York City. The new guidelines amend Local Law 59, passed in 2011, by calling for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) to post and maintain on its website a regularly updated list of organizations in New York City that offer TNR information and conduct TNR activities. The amendment removes the requirement that the commissioner promulgate rules for TNR, including rules providing for the registration of individuals or groups conducting TNR activities, and the establishment of criteria for such registration.

At a hearing held by the Committee on Health of the New York City Council on August 17 to hear testimony on the proposed amendment, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals President Jane Hoffman offered testimony in support of the amendment. She is among those who have worked with the DOH and City Council over the past few months to revisit and re-evaluate Local Law 59 in relation to TNR activities in New York City.

“The conclusion we all reached after attempting to draft regulations that would actually work in New York City and after listening to concerns from the community was that we need education, not regulation, at this time,” said Hoffman. “We believe that through the dissemination of information by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on its website about TNR that we will see increased progress in our attempt to solve the feral cat overpopulation crisis in the city of New York.”

The new law will become effective on September 21, 2012.