City of Des Moines Approves Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program

posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 in News

CatOn Monday, December 17, the Des Moines City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance change that allows for a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program to humanely and effectively reduce community/feral cat colonies in Des Moines.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) has committed to dedicating staff and financial resources to implement a successful TNR program, so once the ordinance becomes effective on March 1, 2019 we will begin altering, vaccinating, ear-tipping, and returning healthy community cats to the areas where they've already been living and thriving - and therefore preventing more generations from taking their place. The program will ensure that cat colonies have a caretaker who feeds them and will focus on cats who are happiest living outdoors and are not candidates for in-home adoptions.

Trap-Neuter-Return programs are the best practice among communities across the country and Des Moines is now the largest city in Iowa to allow for such a program. City staff and the ARL worked with Alley Cat Allies during this process, a national leader in community cat programs.

“We are excited for this change since it will reduce the growing community cat populations while also reducing shelter intake of cats, and ultimately euthanasia. The result of this vote is quite simply that cat lives will be saved,” said Tom Colvin, Animal Rescue League of Iowa CEO.

In September, the Des Moines City Council approved a 10 year Animal Control contract with the ARL as the preferred vendor of animal services. One of the benefits of this partnership is the additional services the ARL is able to provide, at no additional cost for taxpayers. Since 2011, the ARL has invested nearly half a million dollars in programs and services to Des Moines pets and pet owners through grants and other resources.

“Nearly 1,500 pets woke up in our care this morning, and 1,200 of them are cats. With this program, and many others the ARL offers, we expect to see these numbers begin to decrease,” said Colvin.

If you need assistance with a community cat colony, please send a message through our contact form.

For more information about TNR, please visit