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'X' Marks the Spot: ASPCA Receives $230,000 Grant from PetSmart Charities, Inc. to Expand GIS Project

Funding Enables ASPCA to Help Communities Identify Risks and Develop Life-Saving Programs for At-Risk Pets
October 4, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced it has received a $230,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, Inc. The funds will aid in expanding and developing new programming using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology by hiring a full-time GIS expert and a data liaison dedicated to the collection and analysis of community animal data in an effort to strategically save the lives of more homeless dogs and cats.

The ASPCA currently gathers and analyzes shelter data from its Partnership communities* to help guide strategic planning and effective program evaluation. The addition of the GIS specialists will enable the ASPCA to increase the number of communities it works with, as well as expand on the types of data that are plotted and analyzed within these given communities.

Using GIS technology, the specialized staff will analyze the gathered data and allow the ASPCA to more effectively direct targeted spay/neuter programs toward animal populations that are most at risk of entering shelters and track their progress over time. Communities that will participate in GIS targeted spay/neuter projects during the next year include: New York, N.Y.; Erie County, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Miami, Fla.; Buncombe County, N.C.; and Pierce County, Wash.

"Through our work with our partner communities, we have witnessed firsthand how focusing on key data can help improve shelters' strategic planning, helping them work even smarter than before," says Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA. "When it is evident that significant improvement has been made, it provides great motivation for staff, volunteers, donors and the community as a whole. The funding provided by PetSmart Charities, Inc. for this project will help us save even more lives and further our progress with shelters nationwide."

Using GIS technology to gather information--such as the locations with the highest rate of intake resulting in euthanasia, locations with the highest rate of intake resulting in live release**, areas with the highest saturation of spayed/neutered animals entering the shelter, and where those who are adopting animals reside--will help these communities evaluate the effectiveness of live release programs, as well as the spay/neuter programs. Based on the results of this GIS project, PetSmart Charities, Inc. intends to provide grants to additional animal-welfare organizations to promote spay/neuter efforts targeted to areas of most need.

*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. Current ASPCA Partnership communities include: Austin, Texas; Buncombe County, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Shelby County, Ala.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tallahassee, Fla.

**Live release rate refers to the number of pets exiting the sheltering system alive, whether through adoption, return-to-owner, or transfer to a shelter partner or rescue group where adoption is guaranteed.