One year since the launch of ASPCA® Mission: OrangeTM, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is expanding this unique program by inviting communities nationwide to apply to join the campaign.
ASPCA Mission: Orange was originally launched in 2007 to save those animals most at-risk (i.e. shelter animals). The hallmark of the campaign is collaboration with leading community animal welfare agencies and organizations to implement a save rate at or above 75 percent for unwanted pets entering shelters-to create a country of humane communities, one community at a time.
In 2008, up to five new communities from around the country will be selected, via a competitive application process called "Join ASPCA Mission: Orange." Animal welfare groups in each community will work with ASPCA experts to collect and analyze data specific to their community, that will enable them to identify and implement the specific programs and practices that will increase live release rates in their community-a cornerstone of being a "humane community."
The application form, process, and more information, is available at www.ASPCApro.org
"The success of ASPCA Mission: Orange in the 2007 'target communities' has inspired many animal protection professionals to ask us how they can be next," said Ed Sayres, president & CEO of the ASPCA. "We strongly believe that our success should be their success, and want to take what we've learned and put it to work for others."
The five communities selected in 2007 to be a part of ASPCA Mission: Orange are Austin, Tex., Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., Philadelphia, Pa., Spokane, Wash. and Tampa, Fla. The ASPCA is also implementing the ASPCA Mission: Orange principles in New York City, where it is a founding member of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. The ASPCA has made a three-year commitment to each of these communities and is investing up to $200,000 per year in each toward capacity-building and education, with increases in adoptions and spay/neuter efforts playing a key role in the successes seen in these communities.
"We learned a lot in our first year, and it is clear that through targeted programming based on sound data analysis, more lives are being saved," said Julie Morris, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA's National Outreach Department. "In Tampa, for example, 822 more animals were placed into new homes over nine months as compared to the same period the previous year. And in Gulfport/Biloxi, 1,200 more animals were placed into new homes."
Other programs that contributed to improvements in live release rates in these communities include utilizing open adoption policies and practices, implementing TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return), changing shelter cleaning and vaccination protocols, transferring animals from low- to high-adoption agencies, hosting community wide adopt-a-thons, and implementing screening programs for behavior and aggression.
"The more we can replicate success in different communities, the faster we can provide a proven, sustainable approach to improving live release rates for all communities," said Morris.
The application process for Join ASPCA Mission: Orange is available online at www.ASPCApro.org Citizens and community leaders are invited to urge their local animal welfare organizations to apply by March 1st. The five finalists will be announced on ASPCA Day, April 10, 2008.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c]  not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org