Local rescue groups see impact of new campaign - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Local rescue groups see impact of new campaign

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Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 8:42 am

In one year of working together to encourage the community to fix, adopt and save homeless pets, seven animal welfare organizations in Maricopa County say they’ve seen positive results.

Through private donations the groups have been able to provide thousands more spay and neuter surgeries, take in hundreds more animals into their foster programs and target ZIP codes with the largest number of homeless animals.

The Fix. Adopt. Save. Initiative is a three-year campaign being led by the Alliance for Companion Animals. Heather Sheston, project manager of the Alliance for Companion Animals Fix. Adopt. Save. Campaign, said since April of 2013 the group has decreased the number of animals coming into shelters by 3,160, increased adoptions by 1,878 and decreased euthanasia by 15 percent, which is about 4,500 animals saved.

“Although we are excited about our successes thus far there is still more work to be done,” Sheston said. “The majority of our success can be attributed to dogs, however, cats in Maricopa County are still coming into our shelters at a rapid rate with less than 40 percent making it out alive. This has to end, which is why the campaign will focus the majority of their 2014 efforts on homeless cats.”

Efforts like the Animal Defense League of Arizona’s trap and return program will be ramped up in 2014. That program, which teaches community members how to trap feral cats and have them spayed or neutered for a low cost and provides humane traps to do so, helped shelters in targeted areas take in 8 percent less cats since April. Stephanie Nichols-Young of ADLA said they will be spreading their program to two new ZIP codes in Mesa, while still focusing on targeted ZIP codes in areas of Phoenix and Glendale.

Part of the initiative’s success has come from more than 135 mobile spay and neuter events across the Valley, three times more than during the previous year. Those surgeries have helped thousands of pets, according to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. ADLA operates a hotline for people to find low-cost or free spay and neuter events. That number is (602) 265-7729 (SPAY).

While local shelters will be working this year to get more cats adopted, they’ll also be focusing on more low-cost training for dogs and finding more foster homes for new kittens. To become a foster home for animals or to find another way to volunteer with the initiative, visit fixadoptsave.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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