TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski introduced an initiative Monday to help the county humanely deal with its stray cat population.

The Joy Freedman Care for Cats Act would formalize the county’s existing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) pilot program to help effectively control the population.

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“We know that TNR is an ethical, humaneand non‐lethal way to lower our County’s free-roaming cat population,” Olszewski said. “Affirming the County’s existing pilot program into law will help ensure we continue to responsibly address the number of feral cats in our communities.”

TNR involves the humane trapping of cats that live outside and don’t have owners. Once trapped, the cat is sterilized, vaccinated, and ear-tipped at a surgical center, and then returned to the area where they were originally found.

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By reducing the population of stray cats in communities, TNR protects human health by vaccinating the cats against rabies and is supported by leading animal advocacy organizations, including the ASPCA and the Humane Society.

Baltimore County would join Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County, as well as numerous jurisdictions nationwide in operating a TNR program.

This bill is named in memory of Joy Freedman, a founding member of the Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission and lifelong animal advocate.

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“The Baltimore County Animal Services Advisory Commission is deeply grateful to County Executive Olszewski and his team for creating this legislation, codifying TNR in Baltimore County,” said Deborah Stone Hess, Chair of the Animal Services Advisory Commission. “Naming the bill for Joy gives it special meaning, incorporating her deep love for animals into a new law protecting cats on our county’s streets.”

CBS Baltimore Staff