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One Year Later: Pilot Program Sterilizes Thousands
One year ago, the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) and the Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA) announced an ambitious Spay Neuter Pilot Program in an effort to sterilize 6,500 neighborhood cats. As of June 2013, the pilot program, along with a monthly feral cat clinic, have sterilized 5,106 neighborhood cats making a dent in the number of births of unwanted litters.
The joint program utilizes $250,000 in appropriated funds by AHS’ Board of Directors and includes additional support through the newly announced Fix.Adopt.Save initiative. The three-year, multi-million dollar initiative of the Alliance for Companion Animals, a group of eight Valley animal welfare organizations, tackles the Valley’s homeless pet problem through increased spay/neuter, increased adoptions and responsible pet ownership while also looking at cats and dogs separately. It is estimated that there are nearly 200,000 free roaming cats in the Valley, yet only 15 percent make their way into Valley animal shelters. Many are euthanized for medical or behavioral conditions.
The preliminary outreach focused on areas known to have the highest feline surrender rates to AHS’ Sunnyslope shelter. Thanks to the Fix.Adopt.Save initiative, an additional three zip codes have also been targeted. Residents in those zip codes can schedule free surgeries for neighborhood cats through ADLA’s Spay Neuter Hotline.
Since 2009, ADLA has been spearheading Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) efforts in Maricopa County and is responsible for spaying and neutering about 15,000 cats last year. The TNR Program consists of humanely trapping outside cats, spaying and neutering them, tipping their ears and returning them into their colonies. Not only does this allow for these felines to live out the rest of their lives in peace, but also halts the breeding cycle for these cats and bothersome behaviors such as spraying, fighting and yowling.
For more information, please visit www.somanycats.org or call 602-265-7729.