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ASPCA Partnership in Buncombe County, N.C. Achieves Community-wide Live Release Rate of 75 Percent in 1st Quarter of 2011

May 23, 2011

NEW YORK--Homeless dogs and cats in Buncombe County, N.C. have a new leash on life, thanks to a partnership with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), which today announced that its partnership in Buncombe County (Asheville, N.C.) has reached a community-wide Live Release Rate (LRR) of 75 percent during the first quarter of 2011.

The increase in adoptions, returns-to-owner and transfers to shelters where adoption is guaranteed--initiatives all designed to promote positive outcomes for at-risk animals and reduce euthanasia--in relation to the number of animals coming into the shelter, is referred to as the community-wide "Live Release Rate," or LRR. The live release rate for dogs increased by 18 percentage points and for felines by 27 percentage points, meaning that 202 more dogs and 143 more cats were saved during this quarter. Adoption numbers for the partner agencies also improved significantly, with 122 percent more kittens, 40 percent more adult cats, 26 percent more puppies, and 18 percent more adult dogs--all being adopted.

"There's no question in my mind that Buncombe County has made incredible progress with all of their hard work in our partnership," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "In just a year's time, they have improved their live release rate by more than 20 percentage points, which is remarkable. Their increased adoption and spay/neuter efforts are making a lasting impact in the community."

In addition to increasing its live release rate, Buncombe County partners also increased targeted spay/neuter in the community by 32 percent, performing 543 more procedures on cats and dogs compared to the first quarter of 2010.

"Our progress would not be possible without the cooperation and hard work of the Animal Coalition of Buncombe County," said Katherine Shenar, president and CEO of the Asheville Humane Society, a private, open-admission shelter and one of the ASPCA's local partners. Added Quita Mazzina, executive director of the Humane Alliance of WNC, Inc., a high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter facility and the second of the ASPCA's two partner agencies in Buncombe County: "Since its formation in 2010, the Animal Coalition we've formed in Buncombe County has really established itself as a dedicated network of life-saving partners. The increased collaboration and sharing of resources has helped us to save even more animals."

The ASPCA Partnership is a unique collaboration with communities nationwide to increase the live release rate by saving those animals most at risk through sustainable data-driven plans and programs. These engage the community to reunite lost animals with their families, increase adoptions, target spay/neuter and support feral cats and trap/neuter/return (TNR) initiatives.

In addition to Buncombe County, ASPCA partners have provided positive outcomes for homeless animals in many communities around the country, including Austin, Texas; Charleston, S.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Miami, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Shelby County, Ala.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tampa, Fla.