Buncombe animal groups chosen for national program

The Asheville Humane Society and Human Alliance Spay/Neuter Clinic have been chosen by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a four-year project called Mission: Orange, designed to increase live-release rates of animal animals from shelters and to reduce shelter populations through increased spay/neuter rates.

According to a press release from the ASPCA, the two county groups in partnership vied with six other communities for the chance to work with the national organization in the project, and Buncombe County was chosen along with Oklahoma City and Cleveland, Ohio. The release cites the “impressive spay/neuter capacity” of the Humane Alliance and “commitment and determination” of the Humane Society staff and volunteers as determining factors in their selection. “This community has proven its intention to raise the standards for better outcomes for unwanted animals,” said Bert Trougton, senior community outreach director for the ASPCA.

The local partnership serves a region of 222,000 residents, with the shelter caring for some 7,000 dogs and cats annually, and the clinic having performed some 45,000 spay/neuters since 2001. The organizations have been through a year of preparation with the national group, and saw increases in the last half of 2008 in the number of targeted spay/neuters and live releases (up 6 percent for each). The Asheville Humane Society is also implementing the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match adoption program, which “includes research-based animal behavior assessments … aimed at reducing return rates at shelters.”

Additional information about the Mission: Orange program is available at the ASPCA’s Web site. The Asheville Humane Society‘s shelter is currently located at 72 Lee’s Creek Road in Asheville, 253-6383. The Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Clinic provides affordable sterilization services for companion animals; it is located at 25 Heritage Dr. in Asheville, 252-2079.

— Nelda Holder, associate editor


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