A Pup Named Pumpernickel is ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance’s 500,000th Patient
October 11 was a landmark day at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance (ASNA) in Asheville, NC: Their 500,000th spay/neuter patient—a two-month-old puppy named Pumpernickel—was neutered.
A History of Impact
Founded as the Humane Alliance of Western North Carolina in 1994 by late Asheville resident Bill McKelvy, the program became the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance when it was acquired by the ASPCA in 2015.
In addition to performing surgeries for animals in the area, ASNA administers thousands of free vaccinations every year and trains an average of 250 veterinarians and externs in the high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter techniques it helped pioneer.
Creating and expanding impact across the country, ASNA’s National Spay/Neuter Response program has trained 190 clinics to open and run high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter programs.
Much of ASNA’s success can be attributed to McKelvy’s original vision and determination.
“Bill’s legacy continues to impact the Western North Carolina community by bringing an end to unnecessary euthanasia through spay/neuter population control,” says Elea Sprinkle, Vice President of ASNA. “We remain dedicated to providing critical spay/neuter services directly to WNC pets and shelter animals.”
The Power of Partnerships
ASNA has partnerships with more than 45 animal welfare groups that transport animals from more than 44 counties in the surrounding region. These include Buncombe County and Western North Carolina and several clinics in South Carolina and Tennessee. ASNA staff perform roughly 350 surgeries each week with the goal of decreasing the number of animals euthanized in local shelters. Today Buncombe County’s live release rate is above 90%.
“ASNA is always there for special projects and collaborations, including assisting us with free surgeries for a TNR project, supplying materials for and coordinating a yearly community cat box build, and going above and beyond to help us out when we need it,” says Lisa Johns, Chief Operations Officer for Asheville Humane Society.
“Access to affordable, high-quality spay-neuter surgeries is one of the most impactful resources we could have,” says Leah Craig Fieser, Executive Director of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, another ASNA shelter partner. “It’s critical to our lifesaving work and enables us to save far more animals each year.”
Another ASNA partner, the Humane Society of Lincoln County (HSLC) in Lincolnton, NC—an all-volunteer spay/neuter partner organization—routinely organizes low-cost spay/neuter clinics for owned pets. The process includes transporting the animals 100 miles to ASNA’s Asheville facility, where they undergo surgery and are monitored overnight before being transported back to Lincoln County the next day.
“Since 2000, ASNA has altered nearly 16,000 animals for us,” says Diane Leatherman, Spay/Neuter Coordinator for HSLC. “In our county, there is a dire need for low-cost spay/neuter. Most of our clients can’t or don’t take their animals to vet clinics because it’s cost-prohibitive, so ASNA’s partnership with us is critical.”
"Access to affordable, high-quality spay-neuter surgeries is one of the most impactful resources we could have and is critical to our lifesaving work."
A Pathway for Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel—a probable terrier/cattle dog mix—was at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue for a short time before going into foster care with Mary Callahan, a Brother Wolf volunteer.
Two-month-old Pumpernickel and his brother, Rye, were transferred to Brother Wolf from an overcrowded shelter before going to Mary’s home.
“We always work to get puppies from partner shelters into foster care as soon as possible until they can be spayed or neutered,” says Leah. “We can do this because we have foster caregivers like Mary who take in puppies and teach them how to be successful and happy in a home environment.”
Pumpernickel will be featured—and hopefully adopted—on October 21 at the 5th annual News 13 Pet Project at Hunter Subaru’s new location in Fletcher, NC.
His celebrity status aside, Pumpernickel is just one of many animals treated by ASNA to make a lifesaving difference in communities.
“We appreciate the people and organizations who step up to take this important journey with us,” says Elea. Together, we’re helping pets like Pumpernickel survive and thrive.”
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