Nearly 100 lost and stray dogs brought to Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) in Kentucky each month find their way back to their pet parents, thanks in part to the efforts of a new lost and found coordinator funded by the ASPCA.
“That’s a 40% increase over what we’ve had in previous years,” says Margaret Brosko, senior manager of special initiatives and communications for LMAS. “But the data doesn’t even begin to tell the story.”
LMAS is one of three partner agencies (along with the Kentucky Humane Society and Alley Cat Advocates) comprising the ASPCA Partnership in Louisville. Last July, with a grant from the ASPCA, LMAS hired Lost and Found Coordinator Megan Fox, a former customer service representative, who once dreamed of becoming a large animal veterinarian.
Since Fox’s hiring, the abundance of happy endings and reunions have been bringing tears of joy to pet parents, LMAS shelter staff and volunteers alike.
There was the Boxer, Rocky, from Jeffersonville, Indiana, who ended up at LMAS 10 days after disappearing on July 4, 2013. Fox spotted a posting for a lost Boxer on Craigslist, and days later noticed Rocky in LMAS’s kennels.
“When I contacted Rocky’s owner, he was hesitant to come in because of the distance; he figured his dog was gone forever,” she said. “But it was him!” When she spoke with the owner recently, he said Rocky is “fat, happy and crazy.”
There was a Husky, Sheba, who had been missing for two years. On November 1, 2013, she arrived at LMAS as a stray. Her microchip enabled shelter workers to trace her back to her pet parent, who picked her up that very day.
The LMAS website allows citizens not only to register lost and found pets, but also to view the latest lost and found pet entries. The public is also encouraged to call or visit the shelter if their pet is lost.
“We’re lucky to have several really good resources for lost and found pets in our area,” adds Fox. “The people are dedicated and post sightings of lost or found pets. I’m in daily communication with them and try to be the keeper of that information.”
With the spring and summer months ahead, LMAS is bracing for a high intake of strays. But Brosko is hopeful. “We’re lucky to have so many people who care about getting them back home. Our entire team helps people fill out reports, walk through our kennels and share information. We are continually evolving and improving—and people really feel like they’re part of the process.”
That’s especially true for Fox: “I absolutely love being a part of this team of amazing, compassionate, dedicated people, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to help animals every day!”
We love to hear success stories from ASPCA grant recipients who are able to make a great impact on the lives of animals. A recent and inspiring update comes from Humane Alliance, an organization that focuses on remedying pet overpopulation through high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services. The ASPCA pledged more than $2.5 million, along with support from PetSmart Charities, to Humane Alliance over a five-year period to help expand the organization’s services.
Founded a decade ago as a small clinic in Asheville, North Carolina, Humane Alliance performs spay/neuter operations on an average of 120 pets day. Humane Alliance’s transport program works with shelters and animal control organizations across 20 counties to arrange pickups for both shelter animals and owned pets. The organization performs spay/neuter surgeries and returns the pets to the same location the next day.
Looking to expand beyond Asheville, Humane Alliance developed a mentorship program to replicate their success and open new clinics across the country. With help from the ASPCA, Humane Alliance has opened 127 clinics across 40 states, providing spay/neuter services to 3.8 million animals. Communities such as Springfield, Illinois have already seen decreased intake at local shelters, due in part to Humane Alliance’s spay/neuter efforts.
Humane Alliance also offers continuing education classes for veterinarians to help them improve their surgical techniques and provide better patient care. The organization also operates an externship program to provide veterinary students hands-on instruction and offer them valuable real-world surgical experience.
If you attended the ASPCA and Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl Experience in Times Square last month, you may remember a four-month-old boxer/hound named Gambit. The lil’ linebacker spent most of his time at the football event winning hearts—until he was adopted straight off the field! In this week’s Happy Tail, we check on Gambit and his new dad, Dennis, to find out how the pup’s life has been since he left the sidelines behind.
For Gambit, life wasn’t always fun and games. He and his four siblings were born in Tennessee, in an area where dog adoptions are scarce. Knowing that they would have a better chance at finding homes in New York, their local shelter transferred the puppies to the ASPCA. They arrived in the city ready to hit the ground running, and that’s exactly what they did on Team “Puppy Bowl.”
Dennis was at The Puppy Bowl Experience, and though there were many dogs in the game, he was immediately drawn to Gambit. He says, “It was so exciting to go to the events and see Gambit play and interact with people, kids and the spotlight.” He and his wife agreed that the timing was perfect for an “interception,” and the puppy went home with them on the day of the big event.
In the weeks since his adoption, Gambit has loved being the star player in his new family. Dennis tells us that “he was almost completely trained within a week,” and that “he has been making fast friends throughout our neighborhood.” In fact, he is such a crowd-pleaser that he’s been nicknamed Mayor Gambito because he loves to say hello to everyone.
While the Puppy Bowl Experience was a touchdown for Gambit, we are also glad to announce that all of his siblings have since been adopted as well. After a rough start to life, these five super pups won the ultimate prize: a forever home.
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The ASPCA Cruelty Intervention Advocacy team, volunteers from New York Cares, and the NYPD Community Affairs Office set up shop in the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, Queens, this weekend to provide free dog houses, pet ID tags, dog food, behavioral support and educational materials to community members and their canine companions. These resources were in high demand: We distributed 35 large dog houses, as well as rain checks for 15 more houses as part of a pilot program called Operation Gimme Shelter for at-risk pets.
New York City has experienced unusually frigid temperatures and record-breaking snowfall this winter, resulting in numerous reports to the NYPD of pets left out in the cold. In some cases, pet owners lack the resources or financial means to purchase dog houses. As temperatures remain below freezing and snow continues to fall in NYC, we’re relieved that Saturday’s dog house recipients will stay warm and dry.
It’s hard enough for survivors of domestic violence to navigate the complicated emotional and logistical terrain of leaving home for safe shelter—and adding pets into the equation makes these situations even more stressful. Some stay in abusive relationships to protect their beloved pets, while others have no choice but to leave them behind. Because animals often are used as pawns in domestic disputes, this heartbreaking choice can lead to tragedy.
New York’s Urban Resource Institute (URI), a non-profit human services organization dedicated to helping New York’s most vulnerable populations, wants to solve this problem—and the ASPCA is stepping up to help.
We’re awarding a $75,000 grant to URI’s innovative PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program, which enables clients at URI’s largest domestic violence shelter to bring pets with them. Since its launch in June 2013, the program has welcomed many cats; it began accepting dogs this month. This is New York City’s first-ever initiative to house survivors of domestic violence with their pets in a shelter setting.
“We’re honored to participate in an innovative program that provides safe shelter for both domestic violence victims and their pets,” says ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “This program keeps people and pets together during times of crisis, protects them both, and preserves the special bond with a companion animal—often a major source of comfort and stability. We’d love to see it expand to other emergency shelters throughout the city and nationwide.”
In addition to the grant, the ASPCA will offer assistance via its Animal Hospital by providing services including medical exams, vaccinations, behavioral support, spay/neuter surgery and fostering. The ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy team will also provide support and offer critical resources to pet owners who find themselves and their animals in unstable situations.
Studies estimate that as many as 48% of victims of domestic violence remain in abusive situations for fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and that more than 70% of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that abusers have threatened, harmed or killed a family pet. By working together, ASPCA and URI hope to increase awareness about the impact of abuse on every member of the family—including pets—and encourage increased partnership between animal welfare and domestic violence communities nationwide.
This cat has been living at URI’s largest emergency shelter with its owner for the past several months as part of the URIPALS program.