‘We want to make this right, be we do not want to go in this blindly’
By Natalie Frels
KYLE — Kyle City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday, Jan. 17 to approve the Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) ordinance with two amendments.
The ordinance would set the parameters of the TNR program, which would allow Animal Control or volunteers to trap cats in the Kyle community and bring them to the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter (SMRAS), where they would be spayed/neutered and receive treatment. Under the program, volunteers could then return the cats where they were trapped, releasing them back into the community.
Currently, any cat picked up by Animal Control is taken to the shelter, where they are housed until adoption. At the end of the year, the city pays for the total amount of time cats spend in the shelter. The TNR program would ultimately be funded by approximately $300,000 already allocated to these costs. Volunteers would also assist Animal Control in trapping and returning the cats, saving the city money in labor costs.
Council members discussed the program and the potential legal liability as the city awaits clarification from the Texas Attorney General.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, spoke in favor of the TNR program, as this measure was approved on a countywide level.
“There are infinite amounts of variables that you can be given, but at the end of the day, you’re already, as a city, paying for a service,” Becerra said. “The ordinance being passed today would simply fall within that expense [$300,000] and you would, in turn, actually save money because they [cats]wouldn’t be waiting to be adopted at the shelter … So, you’re already paying for this thing and you’re going to get volunteers to return them.”
Following his comments, a motion was made to approve the ordinance with two amendments: exclude the opinion language about “feral” and “free-roaming” cats and change instances of “Release” to “Return.”
The measure passed 6-1. Council member Yvonne Flores-Cale, who expressed concerns about the cost and legal liability to the city, cast the sole dissenting vote.
“This is like a blank check,” Flores-Cale said. “I wouldn’t do that for any other ordinance and I really am not going to do that for this one.”
The TNR ordinance went into effect immediately following Tuesday’s vote.