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Essex County Board of County Commissioners Hold TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) Committee Meeting to Address Concerns Regarding Feral Cats Throughout Essex County

October 23, 2020

District 3 Commissioner Tyshammie L. Cooper, Chair of the Essex County

Commissioner TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) Committee held a meeting to address

the issue of feral cats overpopulating communities throughout Essex County.

The meeting was held via Zoom telecast and attended by District 1

Commissioner Robert Mercado, Essex County Administrator Robert Jackson,

and members of the public. 


Items discussed during the meeting were the specific practices of trapping

cats, the process of neutering cats, and the resources that would be allocated

going forward. Also touched on were new approaches that may be used for

these procedures, including the training of prospective trappers on the best

way to trap cats, and providing more funds to purchase traps and hold training

sessions. “In the past, the TNR Committee focused primarily on neutering cats,

and trapping cats.” Commissioner Cooper stated, “It was brought to our

attention that some of the people trapping cats are not as skilled as they

should be.


It may be beneficial to focus on training the trappers, and also consider bringing on a ‘professional trapper’, as opposed to simply paying people who are not as efficient and may harm the cats they are trapping.”  


Members of the public who participated in the meeting spoke with passion and shared some of the challenges they have experienced in raising awareness about the feral cats that fend for themselves without the benefit of human care. Unfortunately for the feral cats, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the county’s sense of urgency to ensure our residents receive the proper relief and care – which has lessened the urgency to address issues being experienced by feral cats and their advocates. Commissioner Cooper felt it was necessary to express that although the county will continue to prioritize the welfare of our residents during the pandemic, the concerns of the feral cat advocates will be addressed. 


“It was important to hold this meeting and address the issues articulated by the advocates for feral cats in our community.” Commissioner Cooper stated, “We wanted to communicate that we did not forget about this important issue, we recognize their concerns and are working to develop a plan that we can implement in this climate”. Unfortunately, the overarching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that our focus be centered on the pressing health concerns of our citizens and the economy. We were pleased with the feedback we received, and we now have new suggestions to implement in an effort to slow down the problem of feral cat over-crowding.


Commission President Brendan Gill added, “The issue of feral cat over-crowding is not exclusive to Essex County.  Over the past year, we have heard from passionate advocates about this issue. I am happy that Commissioner Cooper and the TNR Committee were able to meet and take feedback from the public on how we can be more efficient in addressing these concerns.” 


The meeting concluded with the discussion of the next steps and action items for the TNR Committee and County Administration. During the October 21, 2020, Commissioner Conference/Board Meeting, the Board passed resolutions supporting NJ State Senate Bill No. 4034, the "Compassion for Community Cats Law", and adopted a resolution commemorating October 16, 2020, as “Global Cat Day” in Essex County. A subsequent meeting of the Essex County Commissioner TNR Committee will be scheduled within the next 45 days.


Essex County District 3 Commissioner – Tyshammie L. Cooper

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