Meet Maricopa County’s Alliance for Companion Animals

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Local groups work together to save pets in their community

Seven animal welfare groups in Maricopa County, Arizona, formed the Alliance for Companion Animals in 2004. The groups have 1 common goal: save as many homeless pets as possible.

In 2013, the Alliance received a 3-year grant to support their Fix.Adopt.Save. campaign, courtesy of PetSmart Charities® and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

spayed catMeet the members of the Alliance for Companion Animals and find out how Fix.Adopt.Save. is making a difference so far.

Altered Tails Barnhart Clinic

The situation: What started in 2003 as a small nonprofit in a spare bedroom of a dedicated volunteer, a decade later became Altered Tails — a spay/neuter powerhouse with 2 locations. The group provides high-quality, high-volume, affordable spay/neuter services for companion animals and free-roaming cats. Altered Tails is the only Humane Alliance–accredited spay/neuter clinic in Maricopa County.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: Altered Tails increased the number of spay/neuter surgeries performed by 61% from 2010 to 2013. Each month, Altered Tails promotes free surgeries using Fix.Adopt.Save. vouchers for at-risk pets, including pit bulls, Chihuahuas and free-roaming cats.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: “The campaign has helped make Altered Tails the largest spay/neuter clinic in Arizona. We anticipate performing nearly 18,000 surgeries in 2014 alone,” said Ellen Clark, executive director of Altered Tails.

Fun fact: Since January 1, 2014, Altered Tails has fixed over 2,300 animals through the Fix.Adopt.Save. program. The smallest was a 3-pound kitten and the largest was 244-pound male mastiff (the largest dog its veterinarians have ever sterilized). 

Animal Defense League of Arizona

The situation: Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA) is a statewide animal protection organization with a mission to protect and defend Arizona’s animals. Its largest program is the Spay/Neuter Hotline, which people can call to find low-cost or free spay/neuter programs throughout the state.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: ADLA schedules TNR surgeries and surgeries for owned cats, pit bulls and Chihuahuas. The group also targets ZIP codes that contribute more than their share of homeless pets to area shelters. ADLA raises awareness of low-cost spay/neuter clinics in Maricopa County and educates the public that pets can be fixed at 2 pounds or 2 months of age.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: “Seeing measurable impact before completing year 1 of the campaign,” said Stephanie Nichols-Young, ADLA’s president.

veterinarian treats puppyFun fact:  ADLA is all about coalitions. In addition to the Alliance for Companion Animals, it has worked in a number of coalitions over the years to improve animals’ lives in Arizona. For example, ADLA was one of the groups that started the Prairie Dog Coalition, which is now part of the Humane Society of the United States.

Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA

The situation: Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) & SPCA is the oldest and largest shelter in Arizona that doesn’t euthanize pets just to make space for more homeless pets. It offers the community adoptable pets, a low-cost veterinary clinic, humane education and foster programs. Last year, the group found homes for 4,300 pets in Maricopa County.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: AAWL & SPCA took in more than 550 additional treatable dogs over the past year thanks to the grants. They also fostered more than 400 additional kittens. AAWL & SPCA’s Judith Gardner is also the president of the Alliance.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: “Providing medical treatments and care for more than 1,000 dogs from our community helped to save their lives,” said Judith Gardner, AAWL & SPCA’s president and CEO.

Fun fact: AAWL & SPCA was founded by Amanda Blake. Some people might remember her as "Miss Kitty" in the TV show Gunsmoke.

Arizona Humane Society

The situation: Arizona Humane Society (AHS) has served a critical role in Maricopa County for nearly 60 years. Through man holds kittencollaborative partnerships, affordable community services, emergency rescue and its medical trauma center, the group is committed to providing second chances and saving pets’ lives.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: AHS helped to fund the Spay Neuter Pilot Program in partnership with ADLA. The program offers subsidized spay/neuter services for community cats in targeted ZIP codes in an effort to decrease the number of cats entering shelters. Over the long term, the program will reduce euthanasia.

In addition, Fix.Adopt.Save. supported the expansion of AHS’s Behavior Modification program, which gives trained behavior specialists the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with dogs who are extremely shy, fearful or lack basic manners. Hundreds of dogs go through this program each year, learning skills that set them up for success in their new homes.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: “The Fix.Adopt.Save. initiative has really brought together the members of the Alliance, and it is energizing to partner with so many groups who each utilize their expertise to save more lives. In the first year of the campaign, euthanasia in Maricopa County has decreased by 14%, and we could not be more thrilled with those results!” said Bretta Nelson, AHS’s public relations manager.

Fun fact: AHS has a weekly TV show, Pets on Parade, that is the longest running show in Arizona. It has been on KTVK-3TV since 1958, 1 year after the shelter opened.

HALO Animal Rescue

The situation: HALO Animal Rescue is a cat and dog rescue/adoption operation that partners with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) to help save the pets that enter the county’s shelters. HALO even shares space in one of MCACC’s facilities and operates a PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: HALO uses funding to help care for treatable dogs and to facilitate kitten fostering, which helps more pets find loving homes in Maricopa County.

woman holds kittenBiggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: “We helped to increase the live-release rate at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in our first year there by 9%,” said Heather Allen, HALO’s president and CEO.

Fun fact: Mother-and-daughter duo Michel Herstam and Heather Allen started HALO out of their homes in 1994. Now, it’s one of the largest pet adoption agencies in Maricopa County.

Maricopa County Animal Care & Control

The situation: MCACC operates 2 full-service animal care centers and a PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center. Its full-service animal care centers in Mesa and Phoenix provide shelter for lost, stray and owner-surrendered pets, adoption services, dog licensing, rabies vaccinations and microchips. The shelters receive about 40,000 animals every year.

MCACC strives to reduce the dangers and nuisances caused by irresponsible pet ownership, and to protect pets from abuse, neglect and homelessness.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: Through its Spay Neuter Assistance Program, MCACC offers free spay/neuter surgeries to the owned pets of Maricopa County residents.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: MCACC saw 9% fewer pets enter its East Valley Animal Care Center from January to May 2014, compared to the same period in the previous year. At its West Valley Animal Care Center, the results were even better: that facility took in 11.5% fewer pets from January to May 2014, compared to the previous year. “We attribute the decrease in intake to the spay/neuter efforts of the Fix.Adopt.Save. campaign,” said Melissa Gable, public information officer for MCACC.

Both locations saw promising decreases in euthanasia during that period, too. Euthanasia at the East Valley location was down nearly 21%, and West Valley saw a decrease of 21.5%.

Fun fact: MCACC’s West Valley Animal Care Center houses “Chi Town.” It’s somewhat of a shelter within the shelter, specifically designed to help scared, sick and injured Chihuahuas and other small breeds. Chi Town has its own Facebook page and was featured in the local media.  

Phoenix Animal Care Coalition

The situation: The Phoenix Animal Care Coalition, better known as PACC-911, is a coalition that unites more than 125 animal welfare groups in Maricopa County. They work together through adoption events, adopt me dogfundraising, community outreach and providing medical assistance for pets. PACC-911 partners are instrumental in getting the “bench warmers” out of the shelters, where they face an uncertain fate after being in those shelters for a long time.

Participation in Fix.Adopt.Save.: PACC-911 organizes adoption events that find forever homes for hundreds of pets each year.

Biggest Fix.Adopt.Save. accomplishment so far: They’ve helped to transfer more pets out of MCACC and AHS to the smaller rescue groups.

Fun fact: PACC-911’s Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry assists low-income families and the elderly with food for their pets. Support from the food bank helps to make sure pets can stay in their homes rather than moving to shelters.


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