APRIL 24, 2013

Multi-million dollar campaign launched to increase spay/neuter and pet adoptions

Three-year, $6 million campaign tackles dog and cat homelessness throughout Maricopa County
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PHOENIX – An alliance of eight animal welfare agencies is launching the “Fix. Adopt. Save.” campaign to tackle Maricopa County’s homeless animal problem. The three-year effort will provide 44,000 free spay/neuter surgeries and prepare an additional 7,000 pets for adoption to reduce euthanasia of homeless pets.

“Nearly 90,000 animals per year end up in shelters with too few being adopted,” said Judith Gardner, CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League and a member of the Alliance for Companion Animals of Maricopa County (the Alliance).“If big moments in animal welfare progress were covered in history books, this project would be included,” she said. “Never before in the Valley have we had such a comprehensive plan to tackle dog and cat homelessness, helping animals and communities in the process.”

“The campaign aims to ‘change the equation,’” for homeless animals in Maricopa County, said Stephanie Nichols-Young, president of the Animal Defense League of Arizona and member of the Alliance. “For every 10 homeless animals who are adopted in Maricopa County, 10 others are euthanized. This equation is simply unacceptable.”

She and other Alliance members say this campaign takes important steps to increase awareness around the issue and spur people to action.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and PetSmart Charities are the two lead funders for the campaign, pledging a combined $4 million for the three-year effort. The Arizona Community Foundation and the Arizona Humane Society are also funding partners.

“The Trust and PetSmart Charities helped get the ball rolling,” said Robert Berger, program officer for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. “There is plenty of room for other funders, local governments and corporations to step up and help with this project. We can’t let the opportunity to help fix this problem slip away.”

The eight members of the Alliance are Altered Tails, the Arizona Animal Welfare League, the Animal Defense League of Arizona, the Arizona Humane Society, HALO Animal Rescue, Healing Hearts, Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, and PACC-911.

“While each of these animal welfare groups has had significant successes of their own in recent years, we are confident that coming together they will be more efficient and effective than ever before in solving a very big problem,” said Stephanie Butler, senior director of PetSmart Charities. “We’ll share nationwide what we learn in Maricopa County so others can benefit from our efforts.”

The “Fix. Adopt. Save.” campaign will dispel commonly held myths regarding pet adoptions and spay/neuter.

For example, many believe that spay/neuter services are expensive when, in fact, high-quality, affordable services are available throughout the Valley.

The campaign, also supported by officials from Maricopa County and several cities, including Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale, is data driven and will target geographic areas with the greatest needs. This initially includes 12 Zip Codes in metro Phoenix with high numbers of feral cats and/or the highest shelter intake of dogs and cats.

“Solving this problem won’t be easy, which is why we are grateful to the funders and the animal alliance,” said City of Phoenix Vice Mayor Bill Gates. “This is going to save animals’ lives and taxpayers’ money. It will make our communities safer and healthier.”

Alliance members point out that 37,586 animals were euthanized at local shelters in 2012.*
Dr. Rodrigo Silva, director of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and member of the Alliance, said his hope is that someday shelters like his won’t be needed at the same level they are today.

The tag line for the new animal welfare campaign is “Our Community Commitment.” The Alliance is encouraging Maricopa County residents and businesses to take the “Fix.Adopt.Save.” Community Commitment Pledge.

More information can be found at www.FixAdoptSave.org.

* Source:ASPCA®.