As we welcome in a new year tonight, we at Alley Cat Allies want to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible, lifesaving change for cats we are creating all around the world with your support.
From fighting on the front lines against animal cruelty to modernizing animal laws and policies to leading urgent rescue and long-term recovery programs in the wake of disasters, we charged fearlessly toward our goal of a better, safer world for cats in in 2021.
The work is far from over. We will continue to press for change beyond this weekend’s New Year’s celebrations and well into 2022. There is no holiday for the cats who still need us. Yet we can still appreciate the accomplishments your support made possible in 2021.
Here are just 9 ways you helped us change the world for cats in 2021, and for years to come.
1. Saving Cats’ Lives After Devastating Heartland Tornadoes
Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson was asked personally by community leaders to come to Mayfield, Kentucky, one of the cities hit hardest by the recent tornadoes.
“The devastation is far beyond what can be seen on a screen. Lives were lost, and homes and businesses destroyed. Now, as they pick up the pieces, so many people are worried about family members, and families include their animals,” Becky said.
“Cats and kittens are fierce and resilient survivors. Many are emerging from the rubble alive, but some are injured. Because of Alley Cat Allies’ rapid response, these animals will receive urgent veterinary treatment and surgery.”
Emergency animal care in the wake of disaster requires sound strategy and, often, the creation of new infrastructure and innovative programs. Alley Cat Allies is bringing it all, along with our decades of emergency response expertise, into impacted communities to save the lives of cats, kittens, and other animals who are in danger.
2. Saving Animals from Cruelty in Berkeley County, WV, Animal Control Shelter
In late 2020, Alley Cat Allies received a report of neglect of animals inside the Berkeley County Animal Control shelter in West Virginia. Taking a closer look, we found another case. Then yet another. What emerged was a pattern of extreme cruelty and suffering.
We knew we had to get to the full picture of what was happening. Upon conducting an in-depth investigation, we uncovered shocking and unacceptable treatment of animals inside a shelter meant to protect them.
In October 2021, Alley Cat Allies filed a writ of mandamus in the state’s highest court, asking the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to compel Berkeley County Animal Control to comply with the law by providing necessary veterinary treatment for the animals currently in its shelter. We will continue to stay firmly on this case in 2022 until the animals are safe and justice is served.
3. Ending the Shooting of Cats in East Bay Regional Park District, CA
Alley Cat Allies filed a lawsuit in a California court in July to stop the East Bay Regional Park District’s (East Bay Parks’) unlawful new policy for removing cats, including hunting, killing, and relocating them. The lawsuit requests the court to vacate or set aside the policy and issue a temporary restraining order.
East Bay Parks, based in the area of Oakland, California, has operated for decades with a policy to kill cats in parklands. Most of the killing involved shooting cats in the dead of night. Alley Cat Allies is working to bring an end to this horrific cruelty and enact humane, effective measures that will protect all animals. Our campaign to end the killing continues into 2022.
4. Seeking Justice and Change after Stockton Breakwall Cat Shootings in Australia
Just before Christmas in 2020, in the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, a horrific and barbaric act of cruelty against cats took place. With no warning even to the caregivers who had cared for the cats for years, the Newcastle Port Authority—a government institution—hired a contract killer to stalk and shoot cats and kittens in the middle of the night.
Throughout 2021, Alley Cat Allies worked with Australia’s Animal Justice Party and local caregivers to challenge the actions of the Port of Newcastle. We are also addressing the dangerous, misguided thinking that led to the choice to kill instead of using humane, evidence-based approaches. What we accomplish in the Port of Newcastle could have a ripple effect through the country and around the world, so we continue our vital advocacy there in 2022.
5. Taking Action in the Statehouse and Courthouse
By writing directly to legislators and rallying our dedicated supporters like you to take action, Alley Cat Allies helped to pass critical legislation with long-reaching benefits for cats and kittens in cities across the country. In 2021, we led supporters to advocate for cat declawing bans in the major cities of Madison, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Austin, Texas. All three bans were passed into law this year.
In September, Texas passed a model law requiring all state shelters and rescues to scan an animal in their custody for a microchip “as soon as practicable.” This policy is the key to swift and successful reunions should a cat ever become lost, displaced, or impounded into an animal shelter. Alley Cat Allies was a top supporter of this important bill, and we ensured advocates had the tools to speak out in its favor.
And in Delaware, in a landmark decision informed by Becky Robinson’s expert testimony, a court ruled against evicting two caregivers from their home for the compassionate act of feeding community cats.
6. Making Critical Change for Cats in the Wake of Hurricane Ida
Becky Robinson travelled to Louisiana twice to provide expert guidance to organizations helping animals impacted by Hurricane Ida. She brought two planes loaded with critical supplies to facilitate animal rescue and care.
Alley Cat Allies provided generators, which were crucial with electricity disrupted by the storm. Also on board were cat and dog food, veterinary supplies including wound care, triage supplies, and care kits for neonatal (under 4 weeks old) kittens, as well as other needed items for rescue work.
7. Providing Cutting-Edge Veterinary Care at the Becky Robinson Alley Cat Allies Veterinary Hospital
January 2021 saw the official opening of the Becky Robinson Alley Cat Allies Veterinary Hospital™, operated by our friends at Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation. The hospital is named in honor of Becky Robinson, and its critical services are saving lives in nearly 20 Louisiana parishes.
The communities most impacted by the hospital are historically underserved. Alley Cat Allies has identified a substantial need for affordable veterinary care and other humane, effective programs for cats in these areas, and we are proud to take a leadership role in helping them now and through 2022.
8. Providing Education on Megestrol Acetate (MA), an Oral Contraceptive for Cats
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of spay appointments for cats and kittens has often been extremely limited. For months, a significant number of spay and neuter clinics closed their doors entirely.
Thankfully, as the pandemic continues to impact communities, there is a short-term, non-surgical way to prevent estrus, or “heat,” and pregnancy in female cats—Megestrol Acetate (MA). Alley Cat Allies created expert resources and provided humane education to communities on the importance of MA as an option while the availability of veterinary appointments is in flux.
9. Launching the Speak Out for Louie Anti-Cruelty Campaign
Louie suffered unbelievable cruelty before he was even a year old. Locked away in a cage in a back room of a house, he was barely fed once every three days—and often punished when he did eat.
Alley Cat Allies intervened and saved Louie’s life, and we are working to ensure no cat has to suffer like him ever again. So in Louie’s honor, we launched a new campaign in 2021 to further our mission to fight animal cruelty around the world.
All of this is just scratching the surface.
We are heading into 2022 with our nose still firmly to the grindstone on cats’ behalf. I cannot thank you deeply enough for standing with us. Here’s to a happy, better, and safer new year for cats and for us all.