How Two Big US Cities Plan to Tackle Pet Overpopulation


pet overpopulationTwo US cities popped up in news this past week highlighting their significant progress in establishing spay and neuter programs and tackling the pet overpopulation issue head-on.  New York City is now reported to have the lowest euthanasia rate per capita of any major US city.  Last year 6,000 animals were euthanized – that’s an all time low.  That’s just one fifth of the number of animals which they euthanized back in 2003.  Their lofty goal is to be a no-kill city by 2015.

Why are they so successful?

They attribute most of their success to the partnership between the NY City Animal Control & Care shelters and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. The Alliance is a coalition consisting of 150 animal shelters and rescue groups.  They all share a commion mission – to save lives.  They relied heavily upon the Alliance’s “Wheels of Hope” which has a fleet of 5 vans – they transported over 70,000 animals to adoption and rescue groups. Overall, an impressive 250,000 adoptions took place for NYCs homeless pets in 2013.  The city has also been focused on the feral cat population and individuals and communities have stepped up to help with Trap-Neuter-Return programs.  This program has been proven to be a humane way of controlling the feral population.

Free Spay and Neuters in Los Angeles

As NYC is seeing results of their hard work and dedication, another city on the west coast just announced their new spay/neuter program.  In Los Angeles, only about half of the animals that end up in a shelter find a home.  The ASPCA has committed a whopping $25 million for a multi-year program that will include spaying a neutering at no cost (aka FREE) for pet guardians. They are providing additional funding toward safety net and retention programs which will include hiring a staff to work with pet parents on special training and other ways to help increase the likely hood that the pets will stay in their new homes and not be returned to the shelters. As reported by the ASPCA, Lorie Wiese, founder of Downtown Dog Rescue, said “By providing these resources and specific expertise, the ASPCA is demonstrating that collaboration is crucial to getting dogs and cats out of shelters and into homes. As a result of the ASPCA subsidies, rescue groups are now able to focus solely on what they do best – rescuing and finding homes for more animals.”

Photo: Thinkstock

WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.