The Oliver is Alley Cat Allies’ most prestigious award that honors those who show dedication, achievement, and excellence in all facets of lifesaving work to protect cats.
Each recipient of The Oliver turned their compassion and unique skills into a powerful force for change and set the standard for what it means to be a true ally to cats.
Behind the Name
The Oliver award is named in memory of Oliver the cat, who lived and thrived with his feline family in his outdoor home until he was trapped and killed by a local animal control agency. He represents the countless numbers of cats who have been and continue to be killed across the nation by the institutions meant to protect them.
Outdated and lethal policies are becoming a thing of the past, but not quickly enough.
Alley Cat Allies advocates across the country and the world for humane and transparent programs and policies to be employed in every community and shelter. We are leading the charge to save cats’ lives by ending the senseless and costly catch and kill schemes that have failed communities for generations.
We are working toward a future where no cat will ever again suffer the same fate as Oliver. And we are not alone. We congratulate all of our awardees who are helping us build a humane future for cats everywhere.
The Oliver Award Recipients
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr
On September 30, Becky Robinson presented Mayor Small with The Oliver for his collaboration with the Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project®, which has dramatically improved life for cats while also enriching Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City has long been a key part of the success of the Boardwalk Cats Project, and we are thankful for the long line of consistent backing from the City ever since the project started 20 years ago,” Becky said.
Atlantic City’s embrace of TNR makes it a global leader. As a result of the city’s support of the Boardwalk Cats Project, no kittens have been born on the Boardwalk in years and the community cat population is much smaller. The cats have lived long and healthy lives outdoors, proving that cats can coexist with a vibrant city and its millions of visitors.
G. Robert Weedon, DVM, MPH
Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson presented The Oliver to Dr. Bob Weedon, a nationally respected community cat surgeon, volunteer, and former clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, at Alley Cat Allies’ Every Kitty, Every City® FLORIDA conference in January 2020.
“Over the many years I’ve known him, Dr. Weedon, a leader in the veterinary community, has been a relentless advocate for animal care programs and ideas that protect and improve the lives of cats,” Robinson said. “Even more importantly, he has shared his knowledge with future generations of veterinarians as a university professor and a teacher of the latest surgical practices. He inspires everyone in the animal protection movement to continue making progress every day in our critical work to save cats from being killed.”
Fort Bend County Animal Services
Alley Cat Allies presented The Oliver to Fort Bend County Animal Services in Texas for embracing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and transforming the Fort Bend community to save the lives of cats. With Alley Cat Allies’ guidance and support, the shelter adopted a TNR program and helped pass a TNR-friendly ordinance in 2018. In just a year, Fort Bend County Animal Services’ save rate for cats increased from 53 percent to over 90 percent.
The Oliver was presented to Rick DuCharme, founder of First Coast No More Homeless Pets, for championing innovative spay and neuter programs to help cats and communities. With DuCharme’s leadership, the area of Duval County, Florida embraced nonlethal programs, particularly TNR. He created the famous Feral Freedom program, which continues to serve as a model for animal shelters to save community cats.
Jennifer Conrad, DVM
Alley Cat Allies awarded the Oliver to Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM, founder and director of The Paw Project, for her leadership in the world’s largest initiative to outlaw cat declawing. The Paw Project has been behind all the legislation passed in North America to ban declawing. Dr. Conrad works with Alley Cat Allies to educate communities and lawmakers about declawing, an outdated and non-therapeutic surgery that has negative effects on a cat’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The Fairfax County Animal Shelter
The Oliver was presented to The Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia on the 10th anniversary of its highly successful TNR program. Alley Cat Allies first began partnering with advocates and shelter officials in Fairfax County in 2008. Together, we worked tirelessly to establish TNR throughout the county. Since then, the program has saved thousands of cats, improved outcomes at the local shelter, and brought the community together to value the lives of cats.
National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA)
Alley Cat Allies presented NACA with The Oliver on its 40th anniversary to honor its support of community cats and the humane programs that protect them, including TNR. The award also celebrated Alley Cat Allies’ strong partnership with NACA.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
The Oliver was presented to various public and shelter officials who supported Alley Cat Allies’ Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project. Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Director of Public Works Paul Jerkins, Police Chief Henry White, and Humane Society of Atlantic County Executive Director Steven Dash all received awards. These officials worked with Alley Cat Allies as we established the Boardwalk Cats Project®, which has been saving Atlantic City’s community cats since 2000.