June 7, 2019

ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance Celebrates 25 Years of Service Thanks to Community Support

By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

Twenty-five years ago, Asheville resident Bill McKelvy set out on a mission to save lives. At the time, many healthy, adoptable homeless animals in Buncombe County were being euthanized every day due to overpopulation. This wasn’t a problem unique to Western North Carolina, but the community’s dedication to finding a solution was anything but typical—ultimately impacting hundreds of thousands of animals in their backyard and millions more across the country. 

Bill knew the best way to tackle animal overpopulation was through efficient and expert spay and neuter surgeries, understanding that if the community could sterilize as many animals each year as were being euthanized, they’d begin to see a meaningful decline in euthanasia rates. In May 1994, Bill founded the Humane Alliance of Western North Carolina, a program that would become a nationally recognized leader in high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter services.

In 2015, the ASPCA, having supported the Humane Alliance for many years and recognizing its tremendous impact, acquired the program and renamed it the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance (ASNA). Now supported by the reach and reputation of the country’s first animal welfare organization, ASNA continues to provide a solution to pet overpopulation in Western North Carolina and across the country. 

As we reach this quarter-century milestone, one thing becomes strikingly clear: ASNA’s success would not be possible without the support of the community and its partners. Since its inception, ASNA has performed over 460,000 spay/neuter surgeries on cats and dogs in Western North Carolina alone, working collaboratively with nearly 70 animal welfare groups and 65 transport partners in more than 20 counties across the state. 

Through its partnerships with animal welfare groups in Western North Carolina, ASNA staff members perform over 100 surgeries per day with the ultimate goal of decreasing the number of animals euthanized in shelters. In its 25 years of providing services, ASNA has helped increase Buncombe County’s animal live release rate to numbers routinely above 90 percent.

Thanks to the ongoing support received from its community, ASNA’s impact goes far beyond North Carolina. In addition to providing low-cost spay/neuter options for North Carolina residents, ASNA operates a robust RACE (Registry of Approved Continuing Education) accredited national training program to help equip animal welfare professionals across the country to tackle overpopulation in their own communities. Right here in Asheville, approximately 1,000 spay/neuter professionals from across the country are trained annually to conduct high-quality, high-volume spay/neuters, with many going on to open and operate their own clinics. Overall, 170 clinics have opened across 40 states, sterilizing a total of more than nine million animals. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to express not just our pride, but our gratitude. This success reveals a true spirit of compassion deep in the community’s character, and we’re thrilled to help it create and inspire so much animal welfare progress here and around the nation.

On behalf of the millions of animals whose lives you’ve touched and helped protect through ASNA’s efforts, thank you for a quarter-century of phenomenal support. 

Originally published in the Asheville Citizen Times.