Tuesday, July 28, 2009

$5 million grant to help Erie County adopt 'no kill' policy for animals

By Phil Fairbanks
Updated: July 28, 2009, 4:50 PM

Erie County would become the largest county in the nation to adopt a communitywide "no kill" policy toward animals as part of a new $5 million grant announced today by the local SPCA.

The grant will allow the SPCA to work with other public and private shelters across the county to ensure that all healthy and treatable animals are adopted.

"We should be proud of this," said Barbara Carr, executive director of the local SPCA. "Maybe we can't get the Stanley Cup or win the big football games, but we have a community that's going to make sure all healthy and treatable animals have a home."

Money for the program is coming from Maddie's Fund, a family foundation whose mission is to create a nationwide "no kill" policy. The fund is named after the family's Miniature Schnauzer, who passed away 12 years ago.

Carr said the grant will ensure that every shelter in the county will stop euthanizing healthy and treatable cats and dogs over the next five years. The grant is tied to the shelters meeting that goal.

Maddie's also will fund a spay and neutering program that will focus, in part, on feral cats, as well as a new program for evaluating pit bulls and other animals at the City of Buffalo shelter.

"We would be the largest county in the nation to have a communitywide no-kill policy," Carr said. "I think that says a lot about our community."

Carr said the foundation was initially reluctant to fund a traditional shelter like the Erie County SPCA but, over time, came to view the agency as a leader in the "no kill" movement.

She is quick to note that her shelter already has reached that goal … not a single healthy dog or cat has been euthanized at the SPCA over the past 12 months … and the county's other shelters are expected to follow suit.

"The whole reason they looked at us," Carr said of the foundation, "is because this community has really stepped up. They're critical, and I know they'll be there for us. They always have been."

Maddie's Fund was created and endowed with $300 million from David Duffield, a wealthy businessman, and his wife, Cheryl. The foundation's goal is to "create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home."

Aside from the SPCA, Maddie's partners include Buffalo Humane, the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, HEART, Second Chance Shelter, OperationPETS and the Ten Lives Club.


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