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Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 9, 2014
Contact: JOHNNIE SIMPSON, media@alleycat.org or (240) 482-3895
FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@kellenadams.com or (202) 207-1134

STANISLAUS ANIMAL SERVICES AGENCY RECEIVES $5,000 GRANT FROM NATIONAL NONPROFIT ALLEY CAT ALLIES
Grant from advocacy organization will support lifesaving programs for cats in Modesto, Calif.

BETHESDA, MD—Stanislaus Animal Services Agency in Modesto, Calif. has been chosen as one of five participants nationwide in a unique grant program created by Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for cats.

The program, called Future Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives, is designed to develop five model shelters—each representing a different shelter structure regularly found in the United States, including nonprofits, government-funded and private-public partnerships. The grantees were also chosen based on their demographics—which include rural and urban areas and serving large and small populations. Each of the shelters chosen for the Future Five grant program will receive an award of $5,000 along with one year of expert guidance to help expand and sustain humane and effective programs for cats.

During the one year engagement, Stanislaus Animal Services Agency’s progress and experiences will be documented and developed as a case study that can instruct other shelters in similar situations how to transition to lifesaving, results-oriented programs for cats. Currently, on a national level, more than 70 percent of all cats and virtually 100 percent of feral cats—commonly referred to as community cats—who enter shelters are killed there. Alley Cat Allies is dedicated to helping shelters evolve and embrace lifesaving programs, including Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), building a foster home network, neutering before adoption, and providing access to low-cost spay/neuter services.

“The Future Five program recognizes shelters across the United States that have made a commitment to design and adopt humane programs for cats,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Stanislaus County’s recent adoption of TNR is a major positive first step, and we hope this grant will help the program flourish.”

In partnership with the Humane Society of Stanislaus County, Stanislaus Animal Services Agency adopted a TNR program in June 2013. Residents are encouraged to help humanely trap community cats and bring them to the shelter where they will be evaluated for health and adoptability. Healthy feral cats will be provided with spay/neuter and vaccinations, and will be eartipped—the tip of the left ear is removed while the cat is anesthetized to identify the cat as neutered and vaccinated. After a short recovery period they are returned to their outdoor homes.

“When stray cats are brought to the shelter, we let residents know that community cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and the Humane Society will return the cats to their neighborhoods,” says Annette Patton, director of Stanislaus Animal Services Agency. “We will no longer be a massive euthanasia factory.”

Thousands of communities across the country are carrying out TNR programs. In the last decade, the number of cities and counties that officially endorse TNR has increased tenfold to 350, including Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque and Washington, D.C. TNR stabilizes and eventually reduces outdoor cat populations over time, while also saving money that could be dedicated to community education and adoption programs.

“What is most impressive about Stanislaus County’s program is the shelter leadership’s commitment not only to implement humane practices in their own facility, but also to serve as a resource to the community and as a mentor to other shelters in the region,” says Juliana deRosa, senior manager of community engagement for Alley Cat Allies. “The Future Five program is setting the course for the future of animal sheltering.”

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org.

About Stanislaus Animal Services Agency
Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, which serves approximately 500,000 residents, impounds about 18,000 to 19,000 animals each year. In 2012, it impounded 7,000 cats and its save rate for cats was 20 percent. In June 2013, this county-run shelter partnered with the nonprofit Humane Society of Stanislaus County to start a community-supported Trap-Neuter-Return program in the hopes of increasing live release rates for cats in their community. The shelter hopes to be a mentor to other communities with a similar vision.