ASAP receives $100,000 grant

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland, a coalition of public and private animal welfare and sheltering organizations, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from PetSmart Charities as part of a continuing effort against pet overpopulation in the Portland metro area.

The grant allows the continuation of ASAP’s flagship “Spay & Save” low-cost pet sterilization program, now in its eighth year. To date, 72,500 cats have been altered through the program, resulting in a 44 percent decrease in shelter intake of cats from the public.

Spay & Save provides low-income families from Clark, Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah Counties with easy, affordable access to spay and neuter services for their pets through one of the program’s five participating surgery locations. Spay & Save also serves caretakers of feral cats.

Since being founded in 2006, ASAP has worked to end the euthanasia of healthy, social, treatable dogs and cats in local shelters and now saves 94.8 percent of cats and dogs.

“While we have made great progress in tackling the problem of cat overpopulation in our area, it is important we sustain these efforts,” says Jackie Rose, Director of Animal Services for Multnomah County.  “When one female cat can have two litters of 3-5 kittens per year, we could be back where we started quickly without the Spay & Save program. We are grateful to PetSmart Charities for not only recognizing the importance of spaying and neutering in reducing the homeless pet population, but also for their continued support of Spay & Save.”

Shelter Alliance a great success for the animals

In 2006, despite valiant efforts by Portland-area rescue organizations, 39% of animals entering local shelters that year were euthanized. That same year, representatives from 10 local animal organizations created ASAP, the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. A decade later, shelter intake has dropped 30%, and the live release rate is at an astonishing 94%.

ASAP — which handles 90% of shelter animals in a four-county area of 2 million citizens — is based on collaboration. The coalition’s Guiding Principles state: “We recognize that all stakeholders in the animal welfare community have a passion for and are dedicated to saving animals’ lives. We are committed to the belief that . . . we need one another, and that the only true solution is to work together.”

Collaboration of this scale signaled a cultural shift. Multnomah County Animal Services Shelter Manager Ann Potter says, “Collaboration takes a ‘shelter’ problem and makes it a community problem. Each partner in the coalition has strengths they can share, and weaknesses that other agencies can help bolster.”

Two years in, the coalition invited community input on terms like “adoptable,” “healthy,” and “treatable” to help standardize definitions for recordkeeping and grant applications. A grant from Maddie’s Fund enabled the group to collect and analyze shelter data that revealed that the greatest impact in saving lives would be made by helping cats, who had a 49% live release rate at that time.

ASAP determined it would need to spay/neuter an additional 10,000 cats annually to significantly and sustainably decrease the number of cats entering local shelters. To achieve this, Spay & Save was formed — a program primarily funded by PetSmart Charities — providing subsidized spay/neuter services to low-income cat guardians and those feeding feral or stray cats. The reason for this, says Cat Adoption Team Executive Director Karen Green, is “the majority of the animals dying in our shelters were cats and offspring of unowned or community cats, or who had low-income owners.”

A tremendous success, Spay & Save has expanded to offer surgery, basic veterinary care, licensing and microchipping, plus special transport through volunteers and Petco events. Karen Kraus, executive director of Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, says ASAP’s purposeful inclusion of feral cat issues “spread the word to a much wider audience about the importance of spaying/neutering pet cats, along with feral and stray.”

More than 61,000 cats have been fixed through Spay & Save since 2010. Program Coordinator Kayte Wolf says, “Even if someone who calls does not qualify for our program, nine times out of 10 we can refer them to another affordable option.” In 2012, the coalition launched the Neighborhood Pet Project, a one-year ASPCA campaign providing free veterinary and behavioral care to eligible cat and Pit Bull owners. ASAP shelters have seen a 50% decrease in cat intake since the program started.

Transport is another important element, both between coalition members and outside rescues/shelters. Bonnie Hays Small Animal Shelter Manager Deborah Wood says, “The question we ask every day is, ‘who can help us save the most animals and help them find the perfect homes?’” In 2015, more than 1,500 animals moved between partner organizations — 958 were transferred to outside organizations, and 8,200 came to coalition shelters from outside groups. Transfers save lives because each organization has unique veterinary and behavior resources, and adopters’ preferences vary by area. According to Lisa Feder of Humane Society for SW Washington, “When you realize you have the entire coalition as a resource it makes it much easier to find a solution to a particular animal’s needs.”

What holds everything together is a constant supportive relationship between ASAP partners. Several committees meet regularly, including the Lifesaving Committee, comprised of operations managers. Monthly meetings foster connection and friendship, shared information, discussion of trends, and brainstorming. Feder says, “It gives us an opportunity to meet face to face and get to know our partner managers a bit better. It makes it easy to pick up the phone and ask questions or for help.”

Through these connections, Cat Adoption Team’s ‘Fostering 4 Rock Stars’ program — which created quality foster homes for thousands of cats — was modeled at three local shelters. In 2015, CAT Director of Operations Kristi Brooks and Potter of MCAS co-presented the concept to a national audience at the HSUS Animal Care Expo.

As Wood says, “...the relationship among our shelters is unique nationally. The organizations and staff put their egos aside to work as one for the sake of the animals. We work as a group, and each shelter also has raised the bar to do exceptional work on its own. We see each other as friends and colleagues. It reflects on the kind of place the Metro area is, and on the individual integrity of the shelter leadership. This is something people in our community should take a great deal of pride in.”

Learn more about ASAP at Also worth a look: and an exciting new community movement, PetopiaPDX. Check it out at


“What I like about Spay and Save is knowing the reasonable cost makes it possible for responsible people to take care of their animals and prevent the birth of animals who would not have the chance of a loving home.”

—    S&S volunteer

“I had no idea what an impact Spay & Save would make. And how quickly. What a success it has been for all the shelters involved … and cats.

—    S&S volunteer

What has impressed me is realizing that people from ALL walks of life love their animals and want to do the right thing.”

—    S&S volunteer

 “One client named Joyce had a pregnant mama cat who stumbled into her life and changed it for the better. Joyce is agoraphobic and never leaves her apartment. After the cat arrived gave birth to kittens, Joyce didn’t know what to do because she couldn’t afford to spay the mama and care for the kittens. She also had no way to transport them anywhere. We sent a volunteer to her apartment (after many reassurances) to pick up the mama cat for her spay surgery, and take the kittens for surrender to OHS so they could get fixed, vaccinated, and adopted to loving families of their own.”

When the mama cat was returned to her, Joyce was so impressed with the way that we had gone that extra mile to help her. She was so grateful, and since her situation was unique, it is something I will never forget.  I am so happy that we can help more people like Joyce.”  

—    Kayte Wolf, S&S

Daniela Iancu, founder of Animal Community Talks, has worked and volunteered with veterinary practices and animal welfare organizations in the Portland area for the last decade. Her happy home includes a wonderfully supportive husband and two senior felines.


Got cats? Get ‘em fixed free Dec. 5-9

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland’s Spay & Save program is working to get EVERY cat altered for free, with a week-long promotion with no limit on the number of cats any one family or person can take in. Clients must live in Clark, Clackamas, Multnomah or Washington counties.

S&S says: “Spaying and neutering makes sense. This life-saving operation reduces the number of unwanted cats or kittens, keeps pets healthy, and reduces roaming. Learn more at

Raise the ‘WOOF’

SPOT helps spay and neuter dogs for low-income folks

Some rescue groups are more high profile than others. SPOT, aka Stop Pet Overpopulation Today, is more low key. The group serves low-income people who often don’t have smartphones or computers, a double-whammy in terms of getting word out for their services. And there’s the little bit of confusion with this magazine’s name! While the names are similar, the organizations are not affiliated.

The Eugene group’s biggest annual fundraiser is April 9, a 1920s-themed casino night to hopefully raise about $20,000 — enough to fund about half the surgeries planned for 2016.

“We reach out to folks who range from low-income to homeless,” says Joey Curtin, SPOT’s President. “We get a lot of referrals from veterinarians who know there’s just no way they can afford the services, so they know these animals aren’t going to get fixed.”

At almost 20 years old, SPOT has evolved over the years. In 2008 SPOT partnered with WAG, the Willamette Animal Guild spay neuter clinic. The existing SPOT board had been working to raise revenue to help all kinds of animals with various veterinary situations, but they were ready to retire. Curtin was on the WAG advisory board at the time, and she and the other concerned parties put their heads together.

“One of the many needs we saw was that there wasn’t an organization in Lane County raising money to get dogs fixed,” Curtin says. “A few were doing similar things for kitties, so we decided to take that piece and do something with it to help people with the cost of getting their dogs fixed.”

Since that time SPOT has helped fund surgeries for 3,200 dogs in Lane County, possibly 3,300 by now. “I’ve been saying 3,200 for several months and haven’t stopped to count!” Curtin smiles.

Donors can feel good about supporting SPOT. “We have no rent, no salaries, almost no overhead, a $14.95 a month phone line we all can tap into to pick up our calls, and just the expenses when we do a fundraiser,” says Curtin. “Consistently, 96 to 97 percent of every dollar we raise goes directly into spay-neuter vouchers. We want people to know that when they donate to us their money is really getting used.”

SPOT’s Roaring Twenties casino night is being produced by a company specializing in casino events, with professional catering. There will be black jack, roulette, craps, Texas Hold ‘Em, and a WOOF — Wheel of Outrageous Fortune. “It’s outrageous fun!” says Curtin, who encourages attendees to dress in ’20s attire.

People who haven’t gambled before needn’t feel intimidated, says Curtin. Friendly dealers are happy to teach and help, and it’s all in fun. Because the event is as dedicated to ‘fun’ as funds, dealers are likely to slip you an ace and cheat. Attendees will be provided “funny money” for playing, and more can be purchased if desired. At night’s end, winnings are exchanged for raffle tickets for high-end prizes.

In 2014, SPOT set a goal to spay or neuter 150 Pit Bulls at a cost of $10 each; they’re repeating that goal this summer. “Pit Bulls are the most prevalent species in the shelters for a lot of reasons,” says Curtin. “A primary one being their litters are so huge. The average Pit Bull will have between eight and 12 puppies. There also are a ton of puppy mill Pit Bull breeders. It’s a popular breed, but it’s also one that ends up in shelters more than any others, and they tend to not get adopted as easily as a lot of other dogs.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Chihuahuas are the second most common shelter breed, also due to puppy mill breeders. “We’re going to do a project in tandem with WAG in August to get those little guys fixed,” says Curtin. “We do all dogs every day, but when we see areas that really needs a serious focus we try to shine a spotlight on it.”

SPOT: Stop Pet Overpopulation Today  *

Vanessa Salvia's love for animals began as a child, when stray kittens just seemed to follow her home (who thankfully, her family accommodated). She lives on a sheep farm outside of Eugene OR, surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, chickens and kids.

PAW Team receives life-changing grant

Portland Animal Welfare Team (PAW Team), an organization providing veterinary assistance to folks with extremely low incomes and those experiencing homelessness, has received $50,000 to spay and neuter 1,000 dogs.  Funds will defray the cost of the procedure and prevent unwanted litters, reducing the pressure on overburdened shelters.  PAW Team also received a $30,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation’s Ed Caudero Fund to cover the majority of clinic funding for the year, and a first-time $5,000 grant from the Doris Day Animal Foundation.  In a recent news release, the folks at PAW Team extended heartfelt thanks to these and other indispensable donors “who are so vital to our mission to help people and their animals stay together, even when the animal’s basic care seems unaffordable.”  Learn more at

50,000 Cats Save Thousands of Lives

Soma - the first cat that was spayed through Spay & Save on February 10, 2010

Soma - the first cat that was spayed through Spay & Save on February 10, 2010

Portland, OR - Under the leadership of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), the Portland metro area’s “Spay & Save” program has altered over 50,000 cats in just five years. This in turn has led to a decrease of cat euthanasia in local shelters by 82 percent with less cats being relinquished -- saving thousands of furry lives. The six largest public and private animal shelters in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA metro area saved an unprecedented 91 percent of cats that came through their doors in 2014 - one of the highest save rates in the nation - compared to 49 percent in 2006 when ASAP was founded.

Spay & Save is ASAP’s highly successful low-cost spay/neuter program which serves cat owners in need of financial assistance as well as people who feed stray or feral cats. The program has altered over 50,000 cats since its launch on February 10, 2010, decreasing the number of cats entering Portland Metro area shelters by 39%.

“Before Spay & Save, ASAP shelters took in over 20,000 cats and kittens from the public on a yearly basis”, states Karen Green, Executive Director at the Cat Adoption Team, one of Spay & Save’s five surgery locations, “This number has gone down to about 12,000 cats in 2014.” When ASAP was formed in 2006, the six shelters euthanized over 11,000 cats due to medical conditions, space and resource constraints. In 2014, this number has decreased to 1,275 - many of whom where severely ill or extremely difficult to manage. Green credits this low euthanasia number to the success of Spay & Save as well as the coalition’s many programs and services that were developed to assist shelters in saving more lives.

“The public has responded strongly to the Spay & Save program”, says Anika Moje, ASAP’s program manager. “In 2014, we received 19,603 calls from people who wanted to get their cats altered through the program. They realized that they couldn’t keep up with their cats reproducing but didn’t know where they could get a high quality surgery done on their budget.”

Kristel D., a former Spay & Save client agrees, “Cricket was abandoned here at our complex. We couldn’t afford another mouth, let alone afford to get her fixed. Thanks to the Spay & Sav program, Cricket was fixed for a price we could swing, not a moment too soon either as she had started her heat cycle.”

Cats waiting for their Spay & Save surgery at the Oregon Humane Society, one of ASAP’s five surgery locations

Cats waiting for their Spay & Save surgery at the Oregon Humane Society, one of ASAP’s five surgery locations

Spay & Save is performed at five ASAP member locations throughout the Portland Metro area with occasional transports to reach more outlying areas. The program is in large part funded through PetSmart Charities and private donations from Portland residents who believe that overpopulation can be addressed through programs such as Spay & Save.

“I marvel at the progress that the Portland community has made in regards to saving lives,” says Mike Oswald, Manager at Multnomah County Animal Services. “Everyone is doing their part. There are programs available for people that need help. The community is supporting its shelters by adopting, donating and volunteering. And you have strong animal welfare organizations and veterinarians throughout the area that are working miracles.”

In honor of World Spay Day (February 24), the Spay & Save program is running a special promotion called Spay Odyssey from February 23-27, providing free spay/neuter surgeries for people who qualify. Regular co-pay for surgeries is $10. For anyone who would like to get their cat fixed through the program, please call 1-800-345-Spay. For anyone who would like to donate to the Spay & Save program, please contact ASAP at<> or your local animal shelter.


Founded in 2006, the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) is a working coalition composed of the following Portland/Vancouver-area animal shelters and organizations: the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs; Cat Adoption Team; Clackamas County Dog Services; Feral Cat Coalition; Humane Society for SW Washington; Multnomah County Animal Services; Oregon Humane Society; Portland Veterinary Medical Association; SW Washington Veterinary Association; and Washington County Animal Services. ASAP’s mission: Working together, we develop and sustain metro-wide programs and services that reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs, and save the lives of all shelter pets that can be humanely and responsibly rehomed. For further information, please visit<>

Take Your Cats on a Free SPAYcation This Month

Summer’s here, which means it’s time for Portland-area residents to take their feline friends on an all-expenses paid SPAYcation the week of June 16. Qualifying low-income cat owners can call now to schedule a free spay/neuter surgery for every cat in their household.  To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-345-SPAY. 

But wait, there’s more! Caretakers of stray or feral cats can also take advantage of this offer. 

The free surgeries will be provided by the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), which has made major inroads into reducing cat overpopulation in the Portland metropolitan area. In the last four years, ASAP has provided 41,000 free or low-cost surgeries, reducing the number of cats coming to local shelters by one-third. 

All upcoming SPAYcation surgeries will be performed June 16 through June 20 by licensed veterinarians at one of several locations throughout the Portland/Vancouver area. Kittens are eligible for surgery also, as long as they are at least eight weeks old and weigh two pounds or more. 

“Two cats can become 100 cats in a matter of months,” said Dr. Kris Otteman, OHS Director of Shelter Medicine. “As the days get longer cats reproduce at a much higher rate, and we need to focus on finding homes for cats without a flood of kittens adding to a shelter’s population.” ASAP hopes to alter 500 cats during SPAYcation, said Otteman. 

What: Over 500 free cat spay/neuter surgery spots will be available the week of June 16 – 20. Kittens qualify if they are at least eight weeks old and weigh two or more pounds. Whether you’re caring for one cat or ten, ASAP will fix them all for free. 

When: June 16 – June 20, 2014 

How to Qualify: Qualified cat owners must receive government assistance or qualify under the program's low-income guidelines. The program is limited to cat owners who live in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, or Clark Counties.

Where: Services provided by licensed veterinarians at these locations: Cat Adoption Team, Sherwood; Feral Cat Coalition (for strays or feral cats, call for location); Humane Society of SW Washington, Vancouver;  Multnomah County Animal Services, Troutdale; Oregon Humane Society, NE Portland. Transportation assistance may be available for those unable to take advantage of this offer because of travel issues.

How to Participate: Call 1-800-345-SPAY for a cat you own; or 503-797-2606 for feral cats. Visit more details.

# # #
The free spay/neuter surgeries are offered through the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland’s Spay & Save program. ASAP is a coalition of the greater Portland area’s animal welfare organizations and veterinary community. This program is funded through private donations as well as grant monies provided by PetSmart Charities®.  Visit for details on qualifying, addresses of surgery locations and more.   

Great save!

The Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) reports that the six largest public and private animal shelters in the Portland/Vancouver Metro area have saved 91 percent of all cats and dogs that arrived through their doors in 2013, an unprecedented number that’s nearly double the national average.  Since forming in 2006, participating ASAP shelters have decreased euthanasia rates by 76 percent, thanks mostly to the community of dedicated veterinarians, rescue groups, volunteers, donors and of course, adopters.  ASAP has also decreased the number of cats going into area shelters by 35 percent, due primarily to the highly successful “Spay and Save” program that has altered more than 41,000 feral, stray and privately-homed cats. 

“The people of the Portland Metro area take great pride in being green.  They should equally take credit for creating and working on sustaining one of the safest community for pets in the United States.” says Debbie Wood, Manager of the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter/Washington County Animal Services.  “Our residents are working on solutions with the shelters — be it getting behavior training or advice to keep pets in the family, getting their animals sterilized to avoid adding to the shelter population, and supporting their shelters through adoption, fostering, volunteering or donating money.”  Learn more at

2014: A Spay Odyssey 500 Cats to be Altered In One Week to Help Low-Income Residents

Portland, OR:  In honor of World Spay Day on February 23, and to prevent unwanted litters of kittens from being born this spring, the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) offers 500 free spay/neuter surgeries for one week in February in five locations around the Portland/Vancouver metro area.

World Spay Day is an annual event that aims to highlight spay/neuter as a proven means of ending pet overpopulation and is part of a global, united effort to end the euthanasia and suffering of companion animals. Qualifying cat owners can have their unsterilized cats or kittens spayed or neutered for free during February 24 - 28. Caretakers of stray or feral cats can take advantage of this offer as well. Surgeries are performed by licensed veterinarians and subsidized through charitable donations.

"In an average week, the Spay & Save program helps 200 cats. Adding more surgery slots than usual and offering the surgeries for free this week will help us reach even more cats during this crucial time of year," says Joyce Briggs, President of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, and a volunteer with the ASAP Spay & Save Program. "In wintertime cats go into season, and many are pregnant by March. Preventing those kittens is the reason for this event. With nearly 22,000 cats entering our area shelters
annually, we need to focus on finding good homes for them, without a flood of kittens this spring. There are not enough homes for all of them."

What: Over 500 free cat spay/neuter surgery spots will be available the week of February 24 - 28.

How to Qualify: Qualified cat owners must live in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, or Clark Counties AND receive government assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Section 8/Public housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Women, Infants and
Children (WIC), Oregon Health Plan and Subsidized Lunch Program funding.

Where: Services provided by licensed veterinarians and caring surgical teams at the locations below. Transportation assistance may be available for those unable to take advantage of this offer because of travel issues.

Cat Adoption Team - Sherwood

Oregon Humane Society - NE Portland

Multnomah County Animal Services - Troutdale 

Humane Society of SW Washington - Vancouver

Feral Cat Coalition - for strays or feral cats

How to Participate: Call 1-800-345-SPAY for a cat you own; or 503-797-2606 for feral cats. Free spay/neuter appointments will be scheduled for February 24 - 28, 2014 only.

# # #

The free spay/neuter surgeries are being offered through the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland's Spay & Save program. ASAP is a coalition of the greater Portland area's leading animal welfare organizations and the veterinary community. The Spay & Save program is working to reduce the number of cats and kittens that are coming into our shelters every year-over 17,000 in 2012 alone. This vital program is funded through private donations as well as grant monies. Special thanks to PetSmart CharitiesR for their grant support. See<> for details about qualifying for an appointment, addresses of surgery locations and more.  In the past 6 years, ASAP has reduced euthanasia in Portland's shelters by 65% and now saves 85% of cats and dogs - making our community one of the safest for pets in the nation!