a tabby cat lying in grass.

Moving Toward a TNR-Friendly Animal Ordinance – Part 1

The goal of the Sioux Empire TNR Coalition is to amend the City of Sioux Falls’ animal care ordinance to allow for an effective and thriving TNR program. The first step in the process is to get in front of the City Council and present our suggested changes, which were crafted with the pro bono help of an attorney with experience working in animal welfare. On Tuesday, August 8th, we will present our first public testimony to the council, which happens during the Public Input period of the weekly meetings. Once we have done that, we will be contacting each council person in order to find two sponsors. With two sponsors in hand, we can push to have the ordinance change made part of their regular agenda. The changes require two “readings” which occur during the regular order of business of the council, which meets for the first three Tuesdays of the month.

We’ll keep you all posted on our progress! Our proposed changes to the ordinance can be found here.

Our “introductory” email to the council reads as follows:

Dear Sioux Falls City Council and Mayor TenHaken,

We are writing to you today to introduce you to the Sioux Empire TNR Coalition, a 501c3 nonprofit organization formed in 2022. Our mission is to foster community welfare and improvement through protecting the quality of lives for feral and free roaming cats.  Sioux Empire TNR works with compassionate community volunteers, local government officials, and companion animal rescues to utilize humane population control of unaltered, free-roaming, feral, and/or abandoned domestic cats in our area through education and the use of Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR).  We also provide referrals for low or no-cost sterilization surgeries and provide access to a wide range of resources for TNR education and colony management in the Sioux Empire and surrounding areas.

Our goal is to create an effective TNR program in Sioux Falls to reduce the local free-roaming cat population and the incidence of cats and kittens destroyed by animal shelters and animal control agencies simply due to their numbers or failure to be adopted. TNR programs have been shown throughout the country, and internationally, to be an effective, humane method for reducing cat overpopulation and increasing public health and safety. We are happy to say we have the support of local animal control officials, the police department and the Sioux Falls Humane Society in our efforts.

However, the current ordinance in place makes creating a TNR program difficult. It is our intention to advocate for amending the ordinance to allow for a TNR program to exist and thrive to support our growing community, working cooperatively with city government, local police and animal control, and the Sioux Falls Humane Society. We will be providing testimony at the public input portion of the City Council meeting on August 8

For more information on TNR programs, as well as our proposed changes to the city ordinance, please visit our website at https://siouxempiretnr.org/. We have an entire section of our website devoted to resources for municipalities looking to learn more about TNR as a method of humane cat population control, as well as our proposed changes to the ordinance.

Thank you for your time and consideration! We will follow up individually with each Councilperson after the August 8th meeting.


The Sioux Empire TNR Coalition Board of Directors

  • Mat Tougas, President
  • Heather Hurd Swanson, Vice President
  • Mychelle Garrigan, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Leonard Tougas, Member
  • Brian Gochal, Member