Six animal shelters in the Portland/Vancouver area, all members of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), have won a Maddie’s Fund® Community Lifesaving Award totaling $1 million. The prestigious award is given only to communities that have saved all healthy shelter dogs and cats for multiple years and demonstrate the ability to sustain this “adoption guarantee” for healthy pets in the future. Winners must also exemplify strength in collaboration and strategic initiatives that could serve as a model across the US.
Award funds were presented in May by Maddie’s Fund President Richard Avanzino at the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter (Washington County Animal Services). The executive directors of all six ASAP shelters and other ASAP member organizations were in attendance.
“The award funds are being allocated to the six shelters based on adoption and transfer numbers while some monies will be pooled for future collaborative projects to further benefit shelter animals,” says Britta Bavaresco, co-founder of ASAP. “This generous funding is a huge boost for the community and helps our shelters meet the ongoing needs of our homeless pets, while saving even more lives by focusing on medical transfers and treatments, behavior training, adoption promotions and special efforts for hard-to-place pets.”
“We are thrilled to be recognized for our life-saving efforts by Maddie’s Fund,” says Mike Oswald, Director of Multnomah County Animal Services. “Establishing a safety net for our community’s homeless cats and dogs has been a priority for all of us. ASAP’s life-saving commitment ranges from Troutdale to Battle Ground, from Cornelius to Damascus, and is changing the whole region, not just the City of Portland. This grant helps animals throughout the whole metro area.”
Euthanasia in metro-area shelters dropped a dramatic 65% percent from 2006 to 2012, thanks to the efforts of ASAP. With nearly 34,000 cats and dogs entering the six shelters last year, the community’s live release rate was a fantastic 85%, compared to the national average rate of about 50%. Nine out of 10 dogs, and eight out of 10 cats left animal shelters alive, and no healthy, social cat or dog has been euthanized since 2010. For metro areas with over 2 million people, this puts Portland in the top three safest communities for homeless animals, alongside New York City and Denver.