ASPCA Midwest Relocation Program Exceeds First-Year Goal, Transports Over 5,000 Animals

WaterShed Animal Fund Rescue Ride transported more than 700 animals rescued through ASPCA disaster response efforts
January 22, 2018

NEW YORK –The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the WaterShed Animal Fund Rescue Ride (WAFRR), launched in January 2017, surpassed its first-year annual goal by more than 2,000 animals. The ASPCA transported 5,715 cats and dogs from shelters throughout the Midwest to areas where adoptable animals are in higher demand. Among the thousands of animals relocated by WAFRR in 2017, over 700 were moved out of areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as part of the ASPCA’s disaster response efforts.

Dudley, the 5,000th animal transported in the program’s first operational year, is a 10-week-old male Lab/Hound Mix. He was moved from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, MS to Toledo Area Humane Society in Maumee, OH, and was adopted by a loving family within six days. Through the WAFRR, thousands more dogs and cats like Dudley will have the same opportunity within the coming months and years.

“The WaterShed Animal Fund Rescue Ride is a shining example of the life-saving impact relocation can have on at-risk animals, and is a strong complement to our relocation routes along the East and West coasts,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “With the help of our transportation partners, we are proud to mentor and support these shelters in moving more animals to safe and loving homes.”

The ASPCA Animal Relocation Program partners with overcrowded source shelters, who need assistance moving animals out, as well as destination shelters, where animals have a greater chance to be adopted. Through the WAFRR, animals are transported from shelters in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, to shelters in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. The WAFRR is made possible by and named for the WaterShed Animal Fund, an Oklahoma-based non-profit that funds innovative programs aimed at improving the lives of companion animals.

“Relocation continues to be a major component to life-saving for companion animals in the United States,” said Christy Counts, President, WaterShed Animal Fund. “The WaterShed Animal Fund is proud to support the ASPCA in its continued work in this area and look forward to the day when relocation is no longer necessary.“

In addition to the ASPCA Relocation Transit vans used across the country, the WAFRR introduced a new state-of-the-art relocation vehicle, which has the capacity to move more animals than any other transport vehicle in the program. The new 30-foot vehicle can house up to 100 canines in one trip. Alternatively, the vehicle can be arranged into two separate compartments – one holding fewer canines and the other holding up to 40 felines, including kittens.

The ASPCA exceeded its first-year animal transport goal on the Midwest route: WAFRR made 190 trips in 2017, working with 17 source shelters, 17 destination shelters, and 1 waystation agency to move over 1,100 cats and over 4,500 dogs.

Cumulatively, the ASPCA’s Animal Relocation Program moved 28,444 animals across the country in 2017. Animals were transported via the Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride (East Coast), the WaterShed Animal Fund Rescue Ride (Midwest), and the West Coast Animal Relocation Program (West Coast).