Portland, OR - Under the leadership of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), the Portland metro area’s “Spay & Save” program has altered over 50,000 cats in just five years. This in turn has led to a decrease of cat euthanasia in local shelters by 82 percent with less cats being relinquished -- saving thousands of furry lives. The six largest public and private animal shelters in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA metro area saved an unprecedented 91 percent of cats that came through their doors in 2014 - one of the highest save rates in the nation - compared to 49 percent in 2006 when ASAP was founded.
Spay & Save is ASAP’s highly successful low-cost spay/neuter program which serves cat owners in need of financial assistance as well as people who feed stray or feral cats. The program has altered over 50,000 cats since its launch on February 10, 2010, decreasing the number of cats entering Portland Metro area shelters by 39%.
“Before Spay & Save, ASAP shelters took in over 20,000 cats and kittens from the public on a yearly basis”, states Karen Green, Executive Director at the Cat Adoption Team, one of Spay & Save’s five surgery locations, “This number has gone down to about 12,000 cats in 2014.” When ASAP was formed in 2006, the six shelters euthanized over 11,000 cats due to medical conditions, space and resource constraints. In 2014, this number has decreased to 1,275 - many of whom where severely ill or extremely difficult to manage. Green credits this low euthanasia number to the success of Spay & Save as well as the coalition’s many programs and services that were developed to assist shelters in saving more lives.
“The public has responded strongly to the Spay & Save program”, says Anika Moje, ASAP’s program manager. “In 2014, we received 19,603 calls from people who wanted to get their cats altered through the program. They realized that they couldn’t keep up with their cats reproducing but didn’t know where they could get a high quality surgery done on their budget.”
Kristel D., a former Spay & Save client agrees, “Cricket was abandoned here at our complex. We couldn’t afford another mouth, let alone afford to get her fixed. Thanks to the Spay & Sav program, Cricket was fixed for a price we could swing, not a moment too soon either as she had started her heat cycle.”
Spay & Save is performed at five ASAP member locations throughout the Portland Metro area with occasional transports to reach more outlying areas. The program is in large part funded through PetSmart Charities and private donations from Portland residents who believe that overpopulation can be addressed through programs such as Spay & Save.
“I marvel at the progress that the Portland community has made in regards to saving lives,” says Mike Oswald, Manager at Multnomah County Animal Services. “Everyone is doing their part. There are programs available for people that need help. The community is supporting its shelters by adopting, donating and volunteering. And you have strong animal welfare organizations and veterinarians throughout the area that are working miracles.”
In honor of World Spay Day (February 24), the Spay & Save program is running a special promotion called Spay Odyssey from February 23-27, providing free spay/neuter surgeries for people who qualify. Regular co-pay for surgeries is $10. For anyone who would like to get their cat fixed through the program, please call 1-800-345-Spay. For anyone who would like to donate to the Spay & Save program, please contact ASAP at www.asapmetro.org<http://www.asapmetro.org> or your local animal shelter.
Founded in 2006, the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) is a working coalition composed of the following Portland/Vancouver-area animal shelters and organizations: the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs; Cat Adoption Team; Clackamas County Dog Services; Feral Cat Coalition; Humane Society for SW Washington; Multnomah County Animal Services; Oregon Humane Society; Portland Veterinary Medical Association; SW Washington Veterinary Association; and Washington County Animal Services. ASAP’s mission: Working together, we develop and sustain metro-wide programs and services that reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs, and save the lives of all shelter pets that can be humanely and responsibly rehomed. For further information, please visit www.asapmetro.org<http://www.asapmetro.org>