But despite a substantial list of area veterinary professional involved in Alley Cat Advocate’s efforts, the statistics are still daunting.
“Unfortunately, as of March 2012, even though we have altered and vaccinated against rabies 21,000 cats,” Little states, “we estimate we only have done about 10 to 29 percent of the total un-owned cat population.”
In the feline community, the number of roaming cats and abandoned litters has become overwhelming. Animals left for dead or spreading disease from yard to yard has resulted in a level of killing at Metro Animal Services that leaves us with a heartbreaking fact of life – a life not necessarily good and certainly not long.
In the summer of 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer named Justin Scally as the new director of Louisville Metro Animal Services. In a press release, Fischer stated, “Scally will lead the agency in a transformation to a shelter that will not kill any adoptable animals.”
With a Maryland resume listing his service as manager of the Puppy Mill Task Force at The Humane Society of the United States, Scally has led the agency in supervising the national effort against illegal animal operations. The young, dedicated director has also helped respond to national disasters from which animals and pets in danger were rescued. As a believer in animal safety and rescue, Scally has his work cut out for him.
One issue in particular is when compassion is cut short by cost. If you think the price of pet adoption is an obstacle, consider the daily operational costs at LMAS. Providing basic information on what it takes to keep a shelter open, Scally, who has a cat and a dog in his own animal family, crunched some numbers.
The estimated average cost for LMAS to spay or neuter an animal is $35.40. The expense of housing an animal is $69.50, which includes vaccination and feeding (additional daily feeding comes to 81 cents per day, not including updated rounds of shots).
“Spaying and neutering animals definitely helps with reducing intake numbers,” says Scally. “We have seen intake numbers decrease over the years due to the spay/neuter campaign. We realize this is a long-term way to reduce intake numbers that needs to continue.”
According to Karen Little, Alley Cat Advocates saw a 40 percent reduction in the intake of stray cats from a ZIP code targeted from 2009 to 2011, courtesy of a grant the organization received from PetSmart.
“Alley Cat Advocates is doing an exceptional job and is setting the standards not only in this community but also throughout the nation,” Scally says. “Karen Little meets with our staff on a regular basis to discuss ways to work together to help the stray cat situation in our community. Karen and I meet on a regular basis to discuss policies and other opportunities to educate and take action in Louisville.”
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