alley Cat aCtion - Alley Cat Allies



alley Cat aCtion - Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Action
An Alley Cat Allies Newsletter • WINTER 2014 •
These shelters are committed to lifesaving changes for cats
In October a group of Alley Cat Allies staff
members visited the Kanawha/Charleston
Humane Association in West Virginia at the
invitation of its new shelter director, Chelsea
Staley. Chelsea was justifiably excited: She’d
been appointed interim director of a shelter in
crisis where “euthanizing” was the norm, but
she was turning things around. She’d heard
that Alley Cat Allies wanted to partner with
shelters committed to adopting lifesaving
solutions for cats, and couldn’t wait to show
us that she and her team meant business.
We didn’t take much convincing. A drastic
reduction in “euthanasia” rates, significant
changes in shelter operations, and a wellattended community Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)
training that showed strong public support
pointed toward a promising partnership.
Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association
became the first shelter chosen for our new
grant program called the Future Five: Shelter
Partners to Save Cats’ Lives.
The selected shelters have all committed to
an official Feral Cat Protection Policy, which
means that they will stop impounding and
killing feral cats and support TNR, a humane
program for outdoor cats. When shelters stop
the cycle of impounding and killing healthy
feral cats, a paradigm shift occurs. They
receive community buy-in, cats are protected,
and their resources are redirected to support
effective lifesaving programs.
Kanawha/Charleston was a logical fit for our
grant program. “In just a few short months,
Chelsea has started the process to transform
the shelter to a compassionate halfway house
for animals,” says Juliana deRosa, Senior
Manager of Community Engagement for Alley
Cat Allies. “In fact, no feral cats have been
euthanized since the inception of their ShelterNeuter-Return program.” As in TNR programs,
cats in Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) programs
are vaccinated, sterilized, and returned to
the location where they were found; the only
difference is the brief stop at the shelter.
Each of the shelters chosen for the Future
Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives is
receiving an award of $5,000 and one year of
expert guidance and resources from Alley Cat
Allies. Our donor support makes this possible.
“We are deeply honored to be selected,”
says Chelsea, who became director on Oct.
31 following an interim role. “In past years,
this shelter—like many others across the
country—killed most of the cats who came
through its doors. My goal as the new shelter
Feral cats do not belong in animal shelters—they live
outdoors and are not socialized to people.
(continued on page 3)
Cats have good instincts and have been
known to find high ground during floods.
Helping Cats
Affected by
the Floods
The historic floods in Evans,
Colo., last September
displaced many cats and
kittens, with some ending
up in areas where they were
in danger. Thanks to your
critical support, Alley Cat Allies
was able to send aid to local
organizations that rescued
displaced cats and provided
food and Trap-Neuter-Return
(TNR) for outdoor cats who
found themselves without
their caregivers. We provided
funding for medical care, spay/
neuter surgeries, vaccinations,
food, and supplies for rebuilding
feeding stations and shelters.
Because of our support, local
group Pure Hearts Rescue
was able to rescue displaced
(continued on page 8)
President’s Message
In this issue of Alley Cat Action you’ll read about our wildly successful National Conference.
I was amazed by the number of attendees–more than 350–who joined us this fall, some of
whom traveled from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.
The energy in the ballrooms was palpable! The conference theme was “Architects of
Change for Cats,” and everyone I met seemed eager to grab their toolkits and get busy
saving lives. We were counting on that enthusiasm, too, because that’s exactly what the
conference was for: to bring people together and empower them at the grassroots level to
create sustainable, lifesaving programs where they live.
Loving cats isn’t enough to save them. We heard Mike Arms say it at the conference, and
I’ll say it here again: It’s fine to be motivated by our hearts, but when it comes to fighting for
cats, we all need our heads in the game. Community change takes smarts.
Alley Cat Action
Volume 24, Issue #2, WINTER 2014
7920 Norfolk Ave., Suite 600
Bethesda, MD 20814-2525
Tel: 240-482-1980
Fax: 240-482-1990
[email protected]
Alley Cat Allies has been laying the groundwork for community change for the last 23 years.
Trap-Neuter-Return works, and we have the data and testimonials to prove it. More than
350 local governments have TNR policies in place, with more signing on every month.
We’ve been building momentum, sure, but we have to step up the pace. Our mission and
goals are more urgent now. Many shelters and animal control agencies have adopted TNR,
but in many more shelters, more cats are being killed now than ever.
This troubles everyone—industry leaders, animal control officers, caregivers, and veterinarians
alike. None of us can create a humane community without all of us working together.
I’m looking forward to our next bold steps in the movement, and I hope you are too.
Thank you for being a part of this journey.
For the cats,
Becky Robinson
Donna Wilcox
Board Members
Donna Wilcox, Chair
Irina Dline, Secretary
Karyen Chu, PhD, Treasurer
Rachel Gorlin
Patricia E. Kauffman
Dina Paxenos
Becky Robinson
© 2014, Alley Cat Allies
All rights reserved. We may make this material available
for use by other groups, but none of it may be
reproduced in any format without specific permission
from Alley Cat Allies.
Alley Cat Allies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and tax-exempt
organization. Alley Cat Allies’ federal employer ID
number is 52-1742079. All contributions, donations,
and gifts are tax deductible, as allowed by law.
It is Alley Cat Allies’ practice to exchange the names of
our donors with other charities that share our values.
We do this in order to both expand our donor base and
spread our mission, and to support those charities that
we feel are working toward the good of animals and our
community. Please notify us if you would prefer that we
not share your name. We would be happy to remove
your information from our exchange list.
2 • Alley Cat Action
Connect with me online
Becky Robinson,
President and Founder
Our Mission: To transform and
develop communities to protect and
improve the lives of cats.
Our Goals: 1) Reform public policies and institutions to serve the best interests
of cats; 2) Expand and promote cat care; 3) Increase understanding of cats in order
to change attitudes and eliminate dogmas; 4) Develop a premier organization to
achieve our mission.
What is TNR?: TRAP-NEUTER-RETURN (TNR) is the humane approach to feral cats.
Stray and feral cats living outdoors are humanely trapped, then vaccinated, sterilized,
and eartipped by veterinarians. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes.
Healthy adult cats are returned to their outdoor colony homes. Trap-Neuter-Return
ends reproduction, stabilizes populations, and improves cats’ lives.
(continued from page 1)
director is to move us toward a model that will include a selfsustaining Shelter-Neuter-Return program for cats. I look forward
to partnering with Alley Cat Allies as we work toward that goal.”
The number one documented cause of death of cats in this
country is animal pounds and shelters. More than 70% of all
cats—and virtually 100% of feral cats—who enter shelters
are killed. Transforming shelters to be lifesaving resources in
communities is Alley Cat Allies’ main mission. We are glad to
report there has been progress over the past two decades as
350 municipalities nationwide have embraced TNR. Cats who
undergo TNR are humanely trapped; transported to a veterinary
clinic where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and
eartipped; and then returned to their original colony homes.
Reproduction stops immediately, and the colony size stabilizes
and decreases through natural attrition.
The five shelters chosen—from an applicant pool of large,
small, rural, urban, private, and municipal shelters—reflect a
cross section of sheltering in our country. Each is receiving
customized advice and solutions that reflect their unique
obstacles. Along the way we’ll be documenting every step of their
journeys so we can provide case studies at the end of the year
for other shelters to follow.
Joining Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association in the Future
Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives program are the
following shelters whose strong leaders recognize they have
a responsibility to serve their community with humane policies
for cats:
• Bay Minette City Shelter, Bay Minette, Alabama: In 2009,
the City of Bay Minette rewrote its animal control ordinance
to include a Feral Cat Initiative program at the insistence
of Gina Jones, an animal control/cruelty investigator. She
campaigned for a citywide TNR program, citing how ineffective
the systematic killing of feral cats had been to date, and
the evidence to support TNR. Despite having city code and
community support, there is limited to no funding available to
perform the crucial surgeries and vaccinations.
Adoptable cats at Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association.
• Johnson County Animal Shelter, Franklin, Indiana: Johnson
County recently revised its ordinance to support TNR practices
and protect the community’s cats and the people who care
for them. The Johnson County Animal Shelter is uniquely
positioned, working in close partnership with the Humane
Society of Johnson County, to provide hands-on support and
education that could save countless cats’ lives throughout the
county. All funding received will be used to purchase additional
humane traps, fund surgeries and vaccinations for community
cats, and develop and expand educational materials and
programs available to the community.
• Lee County Domestic Animal Services, Fort Myers, Florida:
The shelter has been helping feral cats since implementing a
TNR program in March 2009 called Operation S.O.S. (Spay Our
Strays). They have a proven record of commitment to saving
cats’ lives and creating positive community-wide change and
need Alley Cat Allies’ support to have an even greater impact.
• Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, Modesto, California: The
Stanislaus Animal Services Agency wants to save healthy cats.
In partnership with the Humane Society of Stanislaus County,
they adopted a new project in June, though which community
members are encouraged to help humanely trap community
cats and bring them to the shelter where they will be evaluated
for health issues and socialization/adoption. If healthy, the
cats will be spayed/neutered and vaccinated, eartipped, and
returned to their community. The agency hopes to be a mentor
to other communities in the area and across the country.
Changing an entrenched system isn’t easy. But the first step is
recognizing the need for change, and then committing to it. We’re
confident these shelters are up for the challenge, and will lead the
way for others to follow.
To learn more about how you can help transform your
shelter, visit
The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association has implemented a new adoption
system and also features adoptable animals like Harry on its Facebook page.
Alley Cat Action • 3
A packed room for John Fulton’s performance at our banquet.
Alley Cat Allies Conference Spotlights
the Strength of the Movement
We’ve always known that it’s possible to make communities safe
places for cats—but our Architects of Change for Cats National
Conference last November showed us that we’re on the road to
seeing that vision become a reality. More than two dozen expert
speakers and more than 350 attendees convened to discuss
how they can build an even stronger movement to save the lives
of cats.
During the three-day conference, shelter and animal control
directors, and leading veterinary medicine and advocacy experts
in the movement shared their Trap-Neuter-Return success stories
with enthusiastic attendees and discussed how people can
advocate for better policies for cats in their own communities.
The unmistakably powerful themes of building partnerships,
being creative and open-minded, and increasing visibility for the
movement to protect cats resonated throughout the weekend.
John Fulton of Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats serenades the banquet crowd with a
whole concert of “kitty ditties.”
4 • Alley Cat Action
And the conference’s unique networking opportunities gave
rise to new relationships that will continue to strengthen the
movement. Animal control officers in full uniform sat down with
outdoor cat caregivers and veterinarians and explored how
they can work together to change how their communities treat
outdoor cats.
There is still much more work to be done—but this dynamic,
groundbreaking conference demonstrated that cats have many
dedicated, resourceful advocates who will keep the momentum
going until every community is a safe place for cats to live.
This conference would never have happened without you. Your
loyal support over the years allowed Alley Cat Allies to foster this
powerful movement for cats.
Everyone wants a photo with Frank the Feral! Alley Cat Allies President
Becky Robinson and John Fulton join in.
Conference QUOTES
Sharing the Love
The feedback we received about
the conference was amazing!
Attendees and speakers alike
were generous in their praise and
candid with their excitement.
“When you’re going and saving cats, you’re changing
minds, changing the status quo, rejecting cruelty.
In this movement, we’ve brought communities
together, and changed the lives of cats forever.”
Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies President and Founder
“Alley Cat Allies could not
have put together a better
conference!” said Jill Kirsch
of Ohio, in a Facebook post.
“You showed us we are
not alone in what we do
and inspired us with what
others are doing.”
“Our job is not
to write tickets,
it’s to partner
with the
Major Steve Lamb,
Spartanburg Animal
“We trap in anything—
even high heels and
business suits.
We don’t care—we
are going to neuter
that cat.”
Lisa Tudor,
IndyFeral Founder
“You have to
adapt and be
to save lives.”
Bonney Brown,
Humane Network
“The animals
have your
hearts, but
it’s your minds
they need.”
We’ll check in with conference
attendees throughout the year as
these newly minted “architects of
change for cats” put their toolkits
to work saving lives.
Mike Arms, Helen
Woodward Animal
Center President
“If you try to change the status quo, there are bound to be
policymakers or leaders who misunderstand your intentions and
try to block you—until you make the economic case. Once they
see the bottom line, they’ll support you.”
Alley Cat Allies staff and volunteers
welcomed more than 350 attendees from
37 states—and two other countries.
Susan Cosby, Executive Director of the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia
Frank the Feral connects with the future
of the movement!
Spartanburg Animal Services, which was featured at the
conference, launched its own Trap-Neuter-Return program
in January 2013.
Since Spartanburg started TNR, the kill rate of
cats picked up by animal control has dropped to
essentially zero.
Attendees posted everything from job
opportunities to cat photos on our
conference message board.
Alley Cat Action • 5
In honor of National Feral Cat Day®, Alley Cat Allies Attorney Liz Holtz presented the Architects of Change for Cats award to the City of Harrington, Del., for
implementing and supporting a community-wide TNR program. Accepting the honors included members of Delaware SPCA, Forgotten Cats and City Cat Crew; Council
Member Amy Minner; Dan Tartt, founder of the Harrington TNR program; Hetti Brown of the Humane Society of the United States; and City Manager Teresa Tiernan.
Coming Together to Save Cats on
National Feral Cat Day® 2013
The number 13 has a reputation for being unlucky, but the 13th annual celebration of National Feral
Cat Day® was anything but! This year, Alley Cat Allies mobilized cat lovers to host more than 430
events to advocate for cats—more events than any year in the day’s history. Events were held in all
50 states, as well as in Panama, Mexico, Israel, and Canada.
In addition to record numbers of Trap-Neuter-Return workshops, spay/neuter drives, education
events, and fundraisers, four counties in Florida—Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, and Hardee—
issued proclamations recognizing the day.
This National Feral Cat Day® reached tens of thousands of people through events and proclamations—
and millions more were exposed to the message. Alley Cat Allies staff made their way to The Today
Show plaza in New York City on National Feral Cat Day® to spread the message of compassionate
care for cats. They talked with audience members—and even with The Today Show’s hosts—about
feral cats. Admiring our National Feral Cat Day® signs, The Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie
said, “It’s a great cause!”
We couldn’t agree more. Thank you for making this National Feral Cat Day® the best yet!
Alley Cat Allies staff joined the crowd at The Today Show in New York City on
National Feral Cat Day® and held up signs as millions of viewers watched.
6 • Alley Cat Action
Humane Ohio in Toledo spayed/
neutered and vaccinated 43 cats this
National Feral Cat Day®!
Planned PEThood of GA helped improve the lives of 63 cats in its
community with a spay/neuter and vaccinatation clinic.
From the Mailbag
Karen had been feeding and caring for Kitty, an
eartipped cat in her neighborhood, for almost a year
when someone trapped Kitty and took her to the
county shelter. Karen immediately went to try to get
Kitty back. The shelter staff refused to let Karen take
Kitty and said that Kitty would be “euthanized.” Karen
called our National Cat Help Desk, spoke to specialist
Megan Mueller, and got the help she needed to save
Kitty’s life.
Hi Megan,
This is Kitty lying on my patio
before she was trapped. Thank
you so very much for all of your
counseling through this. Throughout
the whole situation, I felt that I had
a friend at my side helping me to get
Kitty back home.
What’s Happening in Your Community? Visit our Facebook page
at and post your story.
Speaking of Cats
Alley Cat Allies knows you love talking
about cats. No matter who you’re talking
to, the words you choose are powerful
tools. We want to share our more than
20 years of experience communicating
about cats to help you make sure you
say exactly what you mean.
“Wild”: When describing outdoor
cats, try saying “feral” or “community”
instead. “Feral” accurately labels
a cat’s place on the spectrum of
socialization. Calling a cat “wild”
can be confusing and lead people to
believe outdoor cats are classified
as wildlife (which have different
protections under the law) or even
a different species than friendly pet
cats. Although feral cats are not
domesticated, they are still domestic
animals and are protected under
anti-cruelty laws in all 50 states and
Washington, D.C.
“Trap-Neuter-Release”: Instead, say
“Trap-Neuter-Return.” Though some
use these words interchangeably,
“return” helps remind people that cats
are bonded to their outdoor home and
should not simply be “released” in
another location. It’s a slight difference
that can have a big impact.
save a Cat with a mouse
With just a few clicks, you can make a difference in the lives of cats and their communities.
Here are some online resources to help you on your way.
Get Informed
Support cats nationwide—
Advocate for cats in your community—
Discover the truth about cats—
Shop our online store—
Join our Feral Friends Network—
Alley Cat Action • 7
COLORADO Flood... (continued from page 1)
cats including a five-month-old kitten they named Polka Dot. Polka Dot wandered
into a mobile home park after the flood. When Pure Hearts Rescue heard about
a resident’s cruel plan to kill Polka Dot, they went to find the kitten. They found a
makeshift animal carrier stuffed with trash, with Polka Dot crouching in the back.
“It wasn’t until she meowed that we saw her eyes,” said Rose
Carroll with Pure Hearts. “She was crammed in with trash,
locked in, and was going to be sent to the trash truck.”
Pure Hearts got Polka Dot spayed, and she is now in a foster
home with other cats with whom she likes to play.
In addition to financial support, we sent rescue organizations
48 traps, which not only served the displaced cats, but will also
enable the groups to continue and increase TNR into the future.
We also helped local groups form partnerships that will benefit cats for years to
come. We couldn’t have done this without donors like you. Thank you!
Polka Dot.
New Zealand Assisi Award
Alley Cat Allies’ Associate Director of Law & Policy Will
Gomaa accepted the Assisi Award on our behalf at the
24th annual New Zealand Companion Animal Conference
in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the first time this award
for outstanding service to animals has been presented to
an organization rather than an individual.
A Sign of the Times
Alley Cat Allies is partnering with
Seaside Heights Animal Welfare
Group (SSHAWG) in New Jersey to
institute a Trap-Neuter-Return program
for the cats who call the Seaside Heights
boardwalk home. We posted four
large signs to educate the community
about outdoor cats and co-hosted a
TNR workshop to recruit and educate
volunteers. In September, a fire broke
out at the boardwalk, and we were in
close communication with SSHAWG,
which made sure all the cats were safe.
Bringing More VetERINARIANs on Board
In December, Alley Cat Allies President Becky Robinson
addressed multiple classes at the University of Illinois
College of Veterinary Medicine to introduce them to
Trap-Neuter-Return for outdoor cats. She highlighted the
important role veterinarians play in carrying out this humane
and effective program—and also discussed the role of
veterinary professionals in shelter medicine and helping
shelters save more lives.
8 • Alley Cat Action
The stories of those who deserve
to be celebrated...and scorned.
PURRS to Copperas Cove,
Texas, for listening to its
citizens and repealing a harmful
ordinance that attempted to
stop Trap-Neuter-Return programs. All
Copperas Cove City Council members
except one voted in favor of repealing
the controversial ordinance, which
included fines for any citizen who fed or
neutered feral cats. We also commend
the compassionate citizens who collected
voters’ signatures for a petition that led to
this victory.
HISSES to Orange Grove
Estate Property Management
in Glendale, Ariz., for
pressuring residents to stop
carrying out Trap-Neuter-Return. A resident
has neutered and returned 100 cats—
with support from local animal control. In
response, property management threatened
to fine any resident who feeds cats. Property
management is also trapping cats and
taking them to a local shelter, which is futile.
This approach is cruel—and it won’t stabilize
the population of cats. TNR is the only
effective method of stabilizing community
cat populations. We encourage property
management to heed animal control’s
advice and support its compassionate
residents’ efforts to help cats and improve
the community.
PURRS to FixNation for
neutering 100,000 community
cats in the greater Los Angeles
area. This milestone is
significant for FixNation and L.A.’s cats,
but it is also proof that people want
humane options for cats. FixNation
provides L.A. with crucial low-cost spay/
neuter services and education, which
citizens have embraced.
PURRS to Doral, Fla., for
officially recognizing TrapNeuter-Return at the urging
of local advocates. The city
will also refer residents to for
information on outdoor cats. We hope
Doral takes this progress a step further by
providing funding for TNR.