Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

East County Animal Rescue is the only animal rescue in San Diego county that has volunteer trappers going out into the community to execute TNR. 

There are currently estimates of over 900 000 feral cats living in San Diego County.  A female cat can have up to 3 litters a year and begin having litters as young as 6 months of age.

If you need assistance with feral cats you can contact us at We help on a triage basis - not first come first served.  As the only rescue in the area facilitating TNR we are very busy - please be patient with our volunteers!

What Trap-Neuter-Return Involves
Trap-Neuter-Return, otherwise known as TNR, is the only method of feral cat population control that has been proven successful.  The process is as the name implies:

Trap: Feral and stray cats are trapped using humane trapping methods (box traps, drop traps, nets etc)
Neuter:  trapped cats are brought to veterinarians to be neutered or spayed and have their ear tipped so that we can identify them as a fixed feral cat.
Return:  Cats are returned where they were trapped to live out the remainder of their lives. 

Our goals with TNR are to:

1) Reduce the number of homeless animals in our community.
2) Reduce (unadoptable) euthanasia rates at our local shelters and humane societies.
3) Reduce animal suffering by controlling the feral cat population. 
4) Help the community and improve the relationship between members of our community and the cats who, by no choice of their own, call our streets home.

We provide this service free of charge  to members of the community who request our help (though we welcome and need donations).

Our team of experienced feral cat trappers, led by Josh Hirschmiller (always with his cat trapping kids in tow), go out late into the night to trap cats. In executing TNR we also collaborate with  other community organizations such as: 

  • Feral Cat Coalition
  • SNAP
  • Animal Welfare