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LAND O’ LAKES, FL- Pasco County Animal Services (PCAS) achieved a major goal in November, 2014 by saving over 90% of the animals in the shelter. PCAS has decided to continue down this life-saving path by joining the “Million Cat Challenge.” The challenge is a shelter-based campaign that’s focused on saving the lives of one million cats in North America over the next five years. By participating in this life saving effort, PCAS has pledged to decrease feline euthanasia and increase the live release rate this year, as compared to the baseline year of 2012.
Over 13,600 animal shelters throughout the U.S. take in approximately 3.4 million cats annually. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1.3 million cats are euthanized each year. The “Million Cat Challenge” is a joint effort launched by the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at University of Florida. The challenge is directed towards shelters in both the private and public sector and is designed to dramatically decrease those numbers by helping shelters implement some or all of these five key initiatives:
1. Alternatives to intake: Provide positive alternatives to keep cats in the home/community
2. Scheduled intake: Schedule admission of cats to match the shelter’s ability to assure humane care and safe movement throughout the shelter system.
3. Capacity for care: Match the number of cats with the capacity required to assure the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.
4. Removing barriers to adoption such as cost, process or location
5. Return-to-field: Sterilize, vaccinate, and return healthy un-owned shelter cats back to their original location.
Wide-spread participation is the key to this campaign’s success. The implementation of just one of these initiatives by all participating shelters will spare the lives of many cats.
“I think we are up for the challenge,” says shelter manager Mike Shumate, “especially if it means saving a few more lives.”
The Pasco County Animal Services Division is dedicated to promoting and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of animals and people. The Pasco County Animal Services Adoption Center is located at 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O’ Lakes, FL, and is open from 12:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For additional information, or volunteer opportunities, please visit the Pasco County Animal Services Division website at http://www.pascocountyfl.net/PAS, or contact them by phone at (813) 929-1212, (352) 521-5194, or (727) 834-3216.