ASPCA's Partner Communities Defy National Trends During Recession With Increased Adoptions, Decreased intake

April 7, 2010

NEW YORK—Despite national trends that indicate animal shelters are seeing more animals than ever before enter their facilities, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) reports that it is experiencing the opposite in its Partner Communities, which have achieved notable increases in adoptions and decreases in the intake of homeless animals.

"This is powerful and exciting news, and shows that ASPCA's Partner Communities are bucking a national trend," said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. "Homelessness is the number one risk factor for companion animals in the United States. These animals die for no other reason than the mere fact that they, for whatever reason, lack a home. Our work in these communities is helping engage residents to reunite lost animals with their families, increase adoptions, target spay/neuter and support feral cat initiatives—all of which led to decreases in intake."

A recent Comcast survey on national pet adoption trends reported that shelters have been hit hard with more supply and less demand. Nearly all of the 25 shelters surveyed (91 percent) reported a higher intake of animals, and two-thirds reported drops in adoptions.

"Although this survey indicates what's happening in much of the country, it's interesting to note that this is not the case in communities where the ASPCA is on the ground and collaborating with local animal welfare groups," said Julie Morris, Senior Vice President of Community Outreach for the ASPCA. "Our support of animal welfare organizations goes beyond any previous community-wide efforts to help end the needless euthanasia of companion animals, and our data shows how collaboration is crucial in implementing programs that provide positive, life-saving outcomes for animals at risk—homeless animals in particular."

Since 2007, the ASPCA has been lending its support, financially and through training and other human resources, to communities around the country with the goal of helping them save more animals. The ASPCA's work focuses a collective effort on sustainable, data-driven plans and programs that engage the community in providing positive outcomes for these animals.

  The ASPCA's Partner Communities are Austin, Texas; Buncombe County, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.;

Cleveland, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Shelby County, Ala.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tampa, Fla.  The ASPCA's investment in these partnerships—in the form of direct grants, capacity-building, training, ASPCA staff expertise, and strategic planning—varies from a one- to five-year period to address homeless animal issues in each community.

On a monthly basis, participating shelters and spay/neuter agencies enter information into an animal statistics dashboard, a tool that sorts data into a series of key indicators. The ASPCA team vets the data, reviewing data entry and trends analyses. In 2009, a recurring trend, from Tampa to Spokane, was a decrease in the number of animals entering shelters in ASPCA partner communities.

"In the year 2009 compared to 2008, intake decreased in all but one of our Partner Communities, and adoptions increased in all but two," said Ms. Morris. "The total intake decrease across all communities was 6,546, while adoptions increased by 3,879." Ms. Morris added that this data is the only multi-community, vetted data available in the country.

ASPCA Partner Communities reported the following successes, bucking the national trend:

  • Austin, Texas decreased euthanasia by more than 2,500 animals;
  • Charleston conducted over 5000 more spay/neuter surgeries;
  • Tampa euthanized 4,249 fewer animals;
  • Cleveland achieved a 19 percent increase in reuniting lost pets with their families.

For other data related to the efforts of the ASPCA Partner Communities, please visit: and click on the link to each partner community.

To see the Comcast survey, please visit: