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Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 21, 2014
Contact: JOHNNIE SIMPSON, media@alleycat.org or (240) 482-3895
FRANCIE ISRAELI, fisraeli@kellenadams.com or (202) 207-1134

ALLEY CAT ALLIES AWARDS $5,000 GRANT TO HELP CATS IN JOHNSON COUNTY
The Johnson County Animal Shelter and Humane Society of Johnson County expand lifesaving programs for cats, including TNR

BETHESDA, MD—The Johnson County Animal Shelter in Franklin, Ind., in partnership with the Humane Society of Johnson County, has been chosen for a unique nationwide 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 a mix of rural and urban areas serving large and small populations. The Humane Society of Johnson County will receive an award of $5,000 to use toward programs that benefit the county. Both the shelter and the humane society will receive one year of expert guidance to help expand and sustain humane and effective programs for cats.

During the one-year engagement, the progress and experiences of the Johnson County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Johnson County will be documented and developed as a case study that can instruct other communities in similar situations how to expand their 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 implementing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), expanding volunteer networks, increasing the number of outreach and educational workshops, and increasing awareness of and 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. “In Johnson County, the local shelter and partner organization are uniquely positioned to provide hands-on support and education that will save and improve countless cats’ lives throughout the region.”

Johnson County recently revised a county ordinance to support TNR practices, protecting community cats and the residents who care for them. Through TNR, community cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and eartipped—the tip of the left ear is removed while the cat is anesthetized to identify the cat as spayed/neutered and vaccinated. After a short recovery period, they are returned to their outdoor homes. The Johnson County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Johnson County will work together to educate the community about their TNR program, including how to humanely trap community cats, spay/neuter and vaccination resources and good colony care techniques.

Johnson County is not alone—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, N.M., and Washington, D.C. TNR stabilizes and eventually reduces community cat populations over time, while also saving money that could be dedicated to community education and adoption programs.

“Communities want programs that protect cats—and agencies like Johnson County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Johnson County are listening, adjusting policies and expanding their programs that support cats,” 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 the Johnson County Animal Shelter
Johnson County Animal Shelter in Franklin, Ind. is a government-run shelter associated with Johnson County Animal Control. The shelter serves approximately 143,000 people, and in 2013, impounded 798 cats. With the support of county leaders, the county revised its ordinance in late 2013 to support TNR. The shelter has already instituted many lifesaving policies for cats, and is looking forward to seeing the good results of this initiative both immediately and years from now.

About the Humane Society of Johnson County
The Humane Society of Johnson County is a nonprofit organization that uses a foster-based system for housing adoptable animals. The organization does not operate a shelter but partners with the Johnson County Animal Shelter to provide adoptable animals with temporary foster homes. The organization also facilitates access to a low-cost spay/neuter program and operates emergency pet medical assistance to county residents, a pet food pantry for low-income families and education programs for children and adults.