Since becoming an ASPCA Partnership community in 2012, the lifesaving trio of Louisville Metro Animal Services, Kentucky Humane Society and Alley Cat Advocates has been collaborating on transfers, spay and neuter, Return to Owner, TNR, adoption events and a variety of other joint projects. Together they are resolving the problem of homeless pets on a community-wide basis.
Louisville, KY (and Jefferson County) Human Population 756,832*
Kentucky Humane Society (KHS)
Alley Cat Advocates (ACA)
|2012 Total Intake||14,489|
|2012 Targeted Spay/Neuter||13,339|
*According to a 2013 U.S. Census estimate.
What They Have Accomplished Together
After the first year of the partnership:
- Overall Live Release Rate (LRR) increased by 4.3%.
- Operation City Kitty – a Return to Field program to help stray intake cats—was the main driver behind the improvement in the adult cat LRR, with Felines Returned to Field improving by a whopping 260%.
During the second year of the partnership:
- Canine and feline stray intakes are down by 627 animals—18% less than the same six months in 2013.
- Transfers from LMAS to KHS have continued their increasing trend, especially for felines.
- The euthanasia rate improved from 29% to 23% of total intake for the year, with 931 fewer animals euthanized in 2013.
Challenges They Faced
Like many communities across the country, Louisville has a large number of homeless cats and pit bull-type dogs. They are addressing this challenge with aggressive spay/neuter campaigns and creative adoption programs, including a barn cat adoption program and a July 4th $4 adoption promotion that yielded more than 260 adoptions in four days.
One of Louisville's biggest successes is the increase in improved outcomes for community cats—as represented by the community's 8.5 percentage point increase in feline LRR in the first year of the partnership.
Additionally, as a part of the partnership, the ASPCA funded a new Lost and Found Coordinator position at LMAS, contributing to the increase in RTO.
And KHS is providing safety net programming for pet owners, including a Pet Help Line that offers advice on common behavior issues and referrals for local pet food banks and low-cost veterinary care and some funding for owned animal medical care.
Why It Worked
Each month the ASPCA provides detailed monthly data to the partners, which allows them to hone in on which animal populations are most at risk. Analyzing the data resulted in a focus on community cats and increased attention to providing a safety net to those animals who are most in jeopardy of being surrendered to the shelter system.
According to Greg Fischer, Louisville's mayor, "The organizations involved realize the only way to reduce pet overpopulation is by working together and focusing on best practices, areas the ASPCA excels in."
As Louisville heads into its third year of the partnership, they are poised to continue to steadily reduce intake, increase LRR and decrease euthanasia. The partners have plans to work more closely with rescue groups to transfer and relocate animals to receiving shelters. Additionally, LMAS and KHS staff recently completed the ASPCA's SAFER training, which will help them to reduce returns and find the best placements for animals in their care. The partners are also expanding their fostering opportunities with Adoption Ambassador-like programming, in which individual foster families, as well as businesses, help market and place foster animals.