Homeless kittens rescued in a box.
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South Dakota Bill Would Protect Feral Cat Rescue Groups

A bill to legally support the rescue work involving feral cats and dogs is making progress in South Dakota. The state is on the brink of protecting organizations dedicated to controlling the population of these animals through a humane method known as trap, neuter, and release (TNR). This initiative is a significant step toward addressing the challenges posed by feral animal populations in a way that benefits both the animals and the community.

Bill protecting feral cat rescue work advances in South Dakota

Senate Bill 172, designed to protect the efforts of groups engaging in TNR, has nearly reached Governor Kristi Noem’s desk. The legislation, having successfully navigated through the Senate, was approved by the House Local Government Committee with a vote of 9-3. It now heads to the House floor for further consideration.

Proponents, such as Republican Rep. Becky Drury, underscore the bill’s focus on aiding organizations that spay or neuter feral animals before releasing them. This action currently conflicts with state laws against the neglect or mistreatment of animals.

Opposition arises from concerns about releasing neutered animals back into the wild — per SIOUXLAND Proud. Critics, like Republican Rep. Marty Overweg, argue that this method fails to address the nuisances and potential dangers these animals might still pose. However, supporters of the bill point out the proven effectiveness of TNR in controlling animal populations. Advocates like Mat Tougas of the Sioux Empire TNR Coalition stress the role of TNR in reducing both the number of animals euthanized and the financial burden on taxpayers.

This legislative push represents a collective effort across party lines, with Democrat Rep. Linda Duba and Republican Sen. David Wheeler among its co-sponsors. Furthermore, the bill has also garnered support from the veterinary community, evidenced by the discounted rates offered for spaying and neutering services. This signals a broad consensus on the positive impact of TNR.

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