ASPCA Partnership in Buncombe County, N.C. Increases Live Releases by 71 Percent During First Half of 2011

September 30, 2011

NEW YORK--More homeless dogs and cats are leaving the Buncombe County Animal Shelter alive and finding homes, 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) increased the number of homeless animals that left the Buncombe County Animal Shelter alive by 71 percent during the first six months of 2011. Buncombe County contracts with Asheville Humane Society, a private, non-profit animal welfare organization, to operate a shelter adjacent to the Asheville Humane Society's Adoption Center.

The number of adoptions, returns-to-owner, returns-to-field 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. A total of 2,061 animals left the Buncombe County Animal Shelter alive during the first six months of 2011, 854 more animals than in the same period in 2010.

"Buncombe County continues to make remarkable progress with all of its hard work in our partnership," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "This is our main vision and the reason behind our push for more collaboration - working together means more homeless animals leave the local shelter system alive and get into good homes."

In addition to increasing the number of live releases, Buncombe County partners also increased targeted spay/neuter in the community by 44 percent, performing more than 4,800 spays and neuters on cats and dogs - 1,474 more procedures compared to the same six months of 2010. And in an effort to give even more animals a second chance at finding a forever home, Asheville-area partners worked together to increase the transfer of adoptable animals within their community for placement by 159 percent over the same period last year.

"Our continued progress just proves that collaboration among all of the groups in the Animal Coalition of Buncombe County really works," said Katherine Shenar, president and CEO of the Asheville Humane Society, the private, non-profit animal welfare organization that operates the county 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: "The fact that we can come together, share resources, and support each other really has made all the difference in the world for the animals in our community."

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.

Since the partnership began in 2007, the ASPCA has provided more than $2.5 million in grant funding to the partner agencies in Oklahoma City. 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-Dade County, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Shelby County, Ala.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tallahassee, Fla.