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Alley Cat Allies selects first of five participants for Future Five program

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Bethesda-based Alley Cat Allies continues their tireless work on the behalf of cats. Recently, the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association in West Virginia was chosen as the first of five participants in a unique grant program created by Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. The program is designed to move animal shelters away from killing feral cats and supporting Trap-Neuter-Return, a humane program for cats who live outdoors and are not socialized.

Each of the shelters chosen for the Future Five grant program will receive an award of $5,000 and expert guidance and resources from Alley Cat Allies. The grant for the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association was announced on Nov. 9 during Alley Cat Allies’ national conference, Architects of Change for Cats, in the Washington metro area. Madeline Berry of Feral Paws of Charleston, a group that helps the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association with its spay/neuter program for feral cats, accepted the Future Five grant on the shelter’s behalf.

“The Future Five program recognizes five shelters across the United States who have made a commitment to adopt humane solutions for cats,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association is hard at work to implement lifesaving programs and we hope this program will help move them further along that path.”

Animal pounds and shelters are the number one killer of cats in the United States and 70 percent of all cats – and virtually 100 percent of feral cats-- who enter shelters are killed. Cats who undergo TNR are humanely trapped, transported to a veterinary clinic where they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then returned to their original colony homes. Reproduction stops immediately, the colony size stabilizes and then decreases over time through natural attrition.

“We are deeply honored to be selected as one of the shelters in the Future Five program from Alley Cat Allies,” said Chelsea Staley, shelter director for the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association. “In past years this shelter – like many others across the country—killed most of the animals that came through its doors. My goal as the new shelter director is to move us toward a no-kill model that will include a self-sustaining Shelter-Neuter-Release program for cats. I look forward to partnering with Alley Cat Allies as we work toward that goal.”

“When Staley took over just a few months ago, she inherited a shelter in crisis where many animals were killed,” said Juliana DeRosa, senior manager of community programs for Alley Cat Allies. “In just a few short months, she has started the process to transform the shelter to a compassionate halfway house for animals. In fact, no feral cats have been euthanized since the inception of their new Shelter-Neuter-Return program.”

For more on Alley Cats Allie, visit their website.

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