Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) is now required in Roseville, MI, just six months after Alley Cat Allies helped nonprofit All About Animals Rescue (AAAR) start an SNR pilot program there. The city’s new SNR policy is possible thanks to a public-private partnership between Macomb County Animal Control and the Metro Detroit-based AAAR.

The city of Roseville is now contracting its animal control services to Macomb County Animal Control. This agency, which we featured during our Animal Care & Control Appreciation Month, requires the cities it serves to allow SNR. AAAR carries out SNR for Macomb County Animal Control. The nonprofit has been providing SNR services in Roseville since December, when the city council approved its SNR proposal, with help from Alley Cat Allies.

The campaign to bring SNR to the city—contacting officials, attending council meetings, and rallying the public—“required a large show of community support, patience, and persistence,” says AAAR Founder and President Amber Sitko, who is a Roseville resident.

In October, AAAR reached out to us for help promoting their SNR proposal in Roseville. We provided the group with model ordinance language, sent educational materials for city council meetings, and mailed letters in support of the proposal to the city council. The council approved the SNR services for three to six months. During that time, 39 cats from Roseville were put through their program.

AAAR provides SNR services to all 27 cities that contract with Macomb County Animal Control. However, since only a few cities pay them, a majority of their funding comes from donations. Alley Cat Allies has worked with AAAR, a member of our Feral Friends Network, for several years. The group not only advocates for community cats and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), but offers veterinary services, adoption, and public education. It holds monthly TNR training workshops and loans out traps. It also hosts high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter clinics around Michigan. In 2016, the group sterilized more than 27,000 cats and dogs, including 5,000 community cats.

As AAAR continues doing SNR in Roseville, the community will see even more benefits.

“Ultimately, [carrying out SNR], and promoting TNR to residents, will help free up resources that should be focused on other much-needed animal care areas, like animal cruelty within the community, while saving the lives of the cats at the same time,” says Sitko.

This partnership between the public Macomb County Animal Control and private AAAR is a great model for other communities to follow for implementing SNR and saving cats’ lives. Both SNR and TNR are community efforts, and in the most effective programs, all stakeholders within the community—nonprofits, animal control officers, and city officials—are supportive and play a role. Public-private partnerships allow for more efficient and effective work because shelters don’t need to have all the resources to carry out SNR themselves; in turn, TNR groups can effectively operate and expand their reach to get cats out of shelters.

Melanie Whittner lives in Roseville and volunteers with Macomb County Animal Control, fielding SNR calls and transporting cats. She says the SNR program encourages more outreach and positive dialogue about community cats, and more residents are getting involved.

“The residents that I talk to are now more understanding of why the cats are actually there and some of them have even started up a feeding rotation for the cats so I don’t have to keep coming back,” she says.

As Roseville continues to see the benefits of SNR, we hope other communities will follow the example of this model program and work to save cats’ lives.