First State Animal Center and SPCA Increase Animals Saved - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

First State Animal Center and SPCA Increase Animals Saved

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KENT COUNTY, Del. – The First State Animal Center and SPCA has completed its entry into the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, and the bottom line is that at least 30 percent more cat and dog lives were saved during the summer of 2014 over the summer of 2013.

These numbers were released to the Challengers on October 7. FSAC-SPCA came in fifth (out of 10 places) in their Division 4, and 28th place overall, out of 50 Challengers nationwide.

Overall, nationally, 68,805 cats and dogs were saved through strays returned to owners and adoptions, a 16,789 increase over last summer's Challenge results.

"Our official numbers show that we saved 922 cat and dog lives through adoptions and strays returned to their lost and worried owners," said J. Kevin Usilton, Executive Director of the FSAC-SPCA. "Last summer, we saved 717 cat and dog lives through adoptions and strays returned to owners. Our increase is about 30 percent and we are very thrilled with our new life saving partnerships," Usilton said.

Usilton said that the number of cat and dog transfers to other rescue organizations were about the same, 57 during the summer of 2014 versus 56 during summer of 2013.

"The most important aspects about being a part of this great Challenge were that we saved many more lives through adoptions and RTOs, and our staff came together and worked very well as a solidified, enthusiastic team," he said. "We had adoption events all over the state - we were in Wilmington and the beach area at least once a week with adoptable cats and dogs. It really helped to get our name out there and tell people about the important work we do here i­­­n Delaware. The FSAC-SPCA staff - everyone - including the Delaware Animal Care and Control officers, gave it their all to make sure they were doing the best they humanly could do to work with the public and save innocent animal lives through the adoption, RTOs and transfer processes."

Waiving the adoption fee for adult cats and dogs during the month of August was a huge boost to the Animal Center's efforts, especially with dog adoptions. Last summer, the FSAC-SPCA adopted out 89 dogs; the summer of 2014, the center adopted out 181 dogs. Cat adoptions remained about the same - 64 cats adopted this summer versus 60 cats last summer. "It saddens me that more people aren't cat people," Usilton said, adding that the public really should take advantage of the low-cost cat spay/neuter clinics that the FSAC-SPCA and the other animal humane facilities will occasionally offer, to impact the stray cat population in the state, which leads to overwhelming numbers of homeless cats and feral cat colonies.

The animal welfare and adoption facility applied in January to be a part of the competition, and was accepted, along with 49 other shelters across the United States, through a highly competitive process. FSAC-SPCA was in one of the highest levels - Level 4, based on its high intake numbers, and it was competing against shelters residing in cities whose populations were greater than the state of Delaware as a whole.

"We are continuing to look at ways to improve the adoption process, and to make the shelter as comfortable as it can be for both the animals who are awaiting their forever homes, and for the families and individuals who hope to find that perfect companion," Usilton said. "If you are interested in joining us in our life saving work, we will be happy to discuss the program details with you, your business, or social group."

The mission of the First State Animal Center and SPCA is twofold: they protect animals from people, by prevention of cruelty and suffering, rescue of the trapped or injured, emergency medical treatment, temporary housing for homeless animals and the reduction of homeless pet overpopulation through targeted spay/neuter and education programs; and they protect people from animals through their commitment in placing only stable, safe and well-adjusted animals into homes where they will thrive while simultaneously educating the public about responsible pet guardianship.
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