Stop NJ Assembly Bill A2275 "Compassion for Community Cats Law"

Stop NJ Assembly Bill A2275 "Compassion for Community Cats Law"

July 9, 2022
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This petition made change with 1,039 supporters!

Why this petition matters

"I feed them, but they are not MY cats."

"No, I have not fixed them, they are COMMUNITY CATS."

"I love feral cats. I feed them, but maybe they are owned by someone else. I'm not the only one feeding, you know."

"Animal control told me to fix the cats I feed, but I don't have to. They're not mine."

Every day, volunteers in the Trap-Neuter-Return ("TNR") world hear these excuses for why so-called "community cats" are continuing to breed and suffer for generations. Piles of food are left by multiple feeders for unfixed "community cats," accelerating the breeding process of more cats outside.

Even with TNR widely known and support available, many feeders do not want to be caretakers. There is also no statute at the state level for any town to require people to fix the cats they are feeding and breeding. 

While I am fighting to change this, a dangerous bill has been introduced in NJ's Assembly that will only make this problem worse: The Compassion for Community Cats Law, or Bill NJ A2275. It has a harmless title but serves only to make things worse for cats and people in New Jersey:

NJ A2275 will make it nearly impossible to hold feeders responsible for fixing the cats they feed. The phrase "community cat" was introduced by cat advocacy groups to categorize feral cats that eat at multiple locations, and protect them from being held in shelters. Its adoption and use has had consequences throughout our state:

  • Multiple feeders do not know or talk to each other to coordinate care or feeding.
  • The idea that "someone else" is feeding and vetting leads to inconsistent, unorganized feedings, making any trapping efforts by outside groups near impossible as cats have food everywhere.
  • Every feeder assumes it is another feeder's responsibility to fix the cat, and continues to breed at alarming rates. 

Until now, NJ's limited ordinances largely avoided the use of the troublesome phrase, but proposed bill NJ A2275 has added a definition for  "Community Cat as part of NJ statutes:"

"As used in this section, 'community cat' means a cat, whether or not fearful of, or socialized to, humans, that has no known owner, lives and freely roams in the outdoors, and that may or may not be cared for by a person, including, but not limited to, a person who provides food, water, veterinary care, or indoor or outdoor protection from the weather."

NJ statutes currently require cats of any kind to be provided medical care, food, and water from owners. By putting feral cats in this new category, they are excluded from the rights afforded by NJ animal cruelty statutes to all other domesticated and farm animals.

The proposed language allows a feeder to legally neglect providing basic medical care to a feral cat, including spay neuter but also emergency care for injuries and illness. It does this by adding an exemption to ownership for "community cat caregivers:"

 "Owner" ... when applied to the proprietorship of any other animal, including, but not limited to, a cat, shall include every person having a right of property in that animal and shall not include a community cat caregiver.

NJ Animal Cruelty Statutes are only enforceable against owners. Bill A2275 exempts feral cat feeders from ownership, and by doing so exempts them from providing veterinary care or treatment of the cats they are actively breeding to live outside.

The consequences of this deceptively worded bill and its dangerous language will exponentially increase the number of feral cats breeding and suffering throughout our state.

  1. Please sign my petition to urge your district representatives to vote against the Compassion for Community Cats Law. Read the bill here.
  2. Promote responsible legislation that will hold caretakers responsible for controlling the populations of cats that they feed.
  3. Make your voice heard at a local level so that towns prioritize funding for shelters and supportive animal control.


This petition made change with 1,039 supporters!

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