News_cat2Alley Cat Allies is partnering with local organizations and policymakers in Alabama to make the state a better place for community cats. Hannah Shaw, Associate Director of Campaigns, and Erin Robinson, National Cat Help Desk Manager, traveled all across Alabama this week, collaborating with shelter staff, police, politicians, local nonprofit groups, and advocates to transform communities and help save cats’ lives.

Overwhelming Support in Birmingham

Our first stop was Birmingham, where we hosted a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) workshop at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. We had special guests Phil Doster, Director of Operations for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, as well as Mark Nelson, Executive Director at Alabama Spay/Neuter. The workshop was packed, thanks in part to Phil Doster and Dani Pelt of Alabama Spay/Neuter who announced our workshop during a live interview on Fox 6 WBRC in Birmingham.

We also conducted a private training session for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society’s staff on how to respond to calls about community cats.

We recently gave Alabama Spay/Neuter a $5,000 grant to fund spay and neuter services for community cats. During our visit, our friends at Alabama Spay/Neuter gave us a tour of their facilities and so we could see first hand the services we’ve funded. It was a great opportunity to discuss how we can continue partnering as we work for change in Birmingham.

Although the shelter is doing great and the community is supportive, the laws in Alabama still need to change. We met with City Councilwoman Kim Rafferty at city hall, who has agreed to work with us to develop new policies that protect cats. She told us, “I want to do this right.”

The Birmingham community has been overwhelmingly supportive of our efforts to expand humane education and resources throughout the city. We are equipping Birmingham with the training and support they need to implement effective, humane programs for cats.

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Making Change for Kiki

From Birmingham we went south to Foley, Alabama to honor the memory of Kiki. You might remember her story from earlier this spring: Kiki, Diana’s beloved cat companion, went missing one day. Diana was heartbroken to discover that Kiki had been trapped and killed by the local animal shelter. This week, we visited Diana and presented her with a plaque to commemorate Kiki’s life.

We also stopped by the Foley Police Department to connect with Captain Thurston Bullock and Chief David Wilson. Foley police have been working with us to change local policies to protect cats and prevent tragedies like Kiki’s from happening again.

Trap-Neuter-Return is a big part of protecting and improving the lives of cats, so we dropped by Fairhope Cat Coalition to say hello, and learn more about the amazing work they’re doing throughout Baldwin County. When people unite to save the lives of cats big things can happen!

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Educational Outreach in Mobile

Our last destination was Mobile, Alabama where we conducted a training for animal control officers from all over southern Alabama. We were so pleased to have Gina Jones, animal control officer from our Future Five Shelter Partner in Bay Minette, with us to help education shelter administration throughout the region. We also connected with our friends at Azalea City Cat Coalition, local activists from PAWSitively Mobile, met with councilwoman Bess Rich, and visited the Mobile city shelter.

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We are thrilled by the positive response and support we found in Alabama. While there’s still a lot of work to do, our visit has shown that Alabama is making huge strides towards becoming a feline-friendly state.

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