Senate, House Bills Filed to Protect Trap-Neuter-Return Programs in Texas

T-N-R programs control the outdoor cat population without the unnecessary killing of the animals.


AUSTIN, Texas – On March 6, Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) filed SB 1682 and Representative Cody Vasut (R-Angleton) filed HB 3660 to clarify that T-N-R programs in Texas are not considered abandonment under the Texas animal cruelty law. Currently, there is a request for an opinion before Attorney General Ken Paxton to determine whether T-N-R programs conflict with the animal cruelty section on unlawful abandonment. 

"No Texan should go to jail simply for participating in a T-N-R program like those which have been around for decades," said Representative Vasut. "I appreciate my local district attorney and animal welfare groups bringing this issue to my attention."

“We applaud Senator Zaffirini and Representative Vasut for filing this legislation to clarify existing law and ensure that T-N-R programs are not misconstrued, and unlawful abandonment under the Texas animal cruelty law is not weakened,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). “We advocate in favor of T-N-R programs in Texas as they have been proven time and time again to keep cat populations in our communities humanely controlled. THLN was instrumental in passing the Animal Cruelty bill in 1997, then strengthening it four more times. At no time did THLN ever consider a T-N-R program abandonment under the Texas animal cruelty law.”  

“TACA strongly believes that local jurisdictions are best suited to determine what programs and services are most appropriate for their individual communities,” said Jamey Cantrell, President Texas Animal Control Association. “Cities, counties, non-profits, and individuals across Texas have chosen to utilize T-N-R for humane population management and any limitation on the use of this life-saving technique will set the animal welfare movement in Texas back decades.”

“Texas Pets Alive! has long championed the ethical process of T-N-R, knowing it saves lives,” said Katie Jarl, Executive Director of Texas Pets Alive! “T-N-R’s mission is to protect the life-saving efforts of animal welfare organizations and advocate to increase live release rates throughout Texas.”

“Aside from saving the lives of tens of thousands of cats in Texas every year, the practice of T-N-R creates healthier communities by protecting from disease through vaccines and decreases the free-roaming cat population by stopping new litters from being born,” said Ed Jamison, President of Texas Unites. 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Cara Gustafson at [email protected] or 561-797-8267. 


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  • Laura Ruede
    The utter absurdity of attempting to associate TNR programs with animal cruelty is obvious to anyone who has practiced it, or who has benefited from this practice in their community – a large and ever-growing number of people. I have seen the beneficial effects not only in my city, but more widely as well. While TNR requires cooperative effort, there are many willing to contribute in the effort to control feral cat populations humanely. There is scarcely a day when our neighborhood’s social media doesn’t light up with entreaties for help with out-of-control feral populations, and neighbors specifically ask for help with TNR. It is a service greatly in demand, and the preferred means of dealing with feral cat populations, hands down. The folks trying to derail this elegant, well-working solution need to shut up, sit down, and get educated.