Grant from advocacy organization will support lifesaving programs for cats.
For Immediate Release: January 14, 2014
BETHESDA, MDBay Minette City Shelter in Bay Minette, Ala. 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 shelterseach representing a different animal control or shelter structure regularly found in the United States, including nonprofits, government-funded and private-public partnerships. The grantees were also chosen based on their demographicswhich include rural and urban areas and serving large and small populations. Each of the agencies 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, Bay Minette City Shelter’s progress and experiences will be documented and developed as a case study that can instruct other agencies 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 catscommonly referred to as community catswho 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 animal control agencies and 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. “We applaud Bay Minette’s support for programs that will benefit the community, and we hope this grants allows these programs to flourish.”
In 2009, the City of Bay Minette rewrote its animal control ordinance to include a Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats, after recognizing that “˜catch and kill’ was wasting city resources and providing no benefit to the community.
“TNR is a win-win situation for the cats and the citizens of Bay Minette,” says Gina Jones, Bay Minette animal control officer. “Most of the time animal control officers are labeled as “˜animal killers,’ and we need to change the way the public views us so we can better serve the cats and the community.”
Bay Minette is not alonethousands 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.
“Jones’ efforts to get the city to start a TNR program was a critical first step in the right direction,” said Juliana deRosa, senior manager of community engagement for Alley Cat Allies. “The $5,000 from this grant will be used to fund spay/neuter services and vaccinationsgetting their TNR program off to a great start.”
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 Bay Minette City Shelter
Bay Minette City Shelter is a municipal agency led by Gina Jones, the city’s only animal control officer. The agency serves approximately 8,000 residents. It houses animals at two veterinary hospitals while they are awaiting adoption. Between January and October 2013, the agency impounded 190 cats, and 104 were feral. Almost all of the feral cats impounded were “euthanized.” In 2009, the City of Bay Minette rewrote its animal control ordinance to include a Trap-Neuter-Return program at the urging of Jones. Despite having this city code and community support, Bay Minette has not had funding to spay/neuter feral cats until now.