NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced it has received a $115,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® to conduct an ID tagging intervention and research program now underway to improve the lives of cats in five communities across the country.
During the intervention, which will continue through 2011 and could affect close to 30,000 cats, the ASPCA will provide spay/neuter clinics in participating communities with collars, ID tags, and the support to help place those tags and collars on owned cats as they are leaving the clinics with their owners.
In the initial research phase for this program, the ASPCA found that while 80 percent of pet owners surveyed said that ID tags are either very important or extremely important, only 33 percent of those pet owners said that their pets were actually wearing an ID tag. "This is a powerful difference between attitude and behavior." said Dr. Emily Weiss, senior director of shelter research and development for the ASPCA.
"Initial ASPCA research, currently under review at the Journal of Animal Welfare, shows that placing ID tags directly on pets - whether at the point of adoption or spay/neuter - works. Pet guardians keep the collars and tags on their pets, which in turn helps to ensure their pets will be quickly returned if lost," added Dr. Weiss. "Simply said, a collar and ID tag is the most direct method to reunite pets with their people."
"Making sure pets are returned to their owners when lost is a critical factor in reducing the number of lost pets entering shelters and potentially, being euthanized," said Susana Della Maddalena, vice president and executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "We are proud to be able to provide this grant funding to implement this important program."
Participating spay/neuter clinics include Animal Protective League Spay/Neuter Clinic in Springfield, Ill., Central Oklahoma Humane Society in Oklahoma City, Okla., Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers in Charleston, S.C., Humane Alliance in Asheville, N.C., and EmanciPet and Animal Trustees of Austin in Austin, Texas.
The ASPCA hopes that perhaps by stressing the importance of ID tag use, it can help alleviate the issue of animal homelessness further by decreasing stray intake and increasing return-to-owner rates in animal shelters across the country, which currently are between 10 and 30 percent for dogs and less than 5 percent for cats.