Thursday, January 21, 2010

ACR Creates Emergency Relief Fund

In the wake of the devastation in Haiti and due to several recent situations at ACR, we have decided to establish an Emergency Relief Fund. These funds will be designated to assist cats in need due to emergency or “special-needs” situations.

From time to time, ACR will rescue a cat who turns out to have “special needs” or require special treatment (ex. Pumpkin), and in these cases, it is essential to have an Emergency Relief Fund to see that these cats are able to receive the treatment they need and deserve.

ACR also gets requests from other cat groups or from individuals asking for help with special-needs cats. Yesterday, we were contacted by a rescuer with a story of four cats who have inadvertently been caught up in a 6-month rabies quarantine that will cost at least $6,000 to save their lives. And right before this incident, a person contacted us who could not afford for her cat to be treated for a urinary infection, so the poor cat ended up developing bladder stones and needed surgery.

And with the earthquake in Haiti, ACR has been asked by an animal rescue group in the Dominican Republic (Animal Balance working with Dominican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to help them find homes for animals currently in their shelter, so that they can rescue animals from Haiti. They also asked ACR for help with TNR and sterilizing cats, since most of their funds go to help dogs.

Subsequently, all of these worthy causes require money, and a substantial amount of it. Again, the intentions of this fund are to assist cats that are in special, emergency situations, where sadly, it is a question of life or death for an animal due to the cost of treatment. ACR believes that no animal should die when life-saving treatments exist because an individual cannot afford treatment or the support and funding are not accessible for such occasions; that is why ACR has created an Emergency Relief Fund.
As mentioned, one of ACR’s emergency cases right now is trying to save four cats from the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter here in Maryland. We were contacted by a rescuer who was contacted by the shelter’s adoption counselor, with the information that a friendly cat came into the shelter last week, and he had some scratches on him. Sometime after intake, the cat was eventually placed with other friendly cats in the "free-roaming" cat condo. Then, at some point after that, someone decided that (due to the scratches) the cat might have rabies, so he should be put down or quarantined for 6 months. The Health Department was also called. To make matters more difficult, because the three other cats were "exposed" to the cat in question, those three cats also have to be quarantined for 6 months.

Why someone did not take this into consideration prior to placing the cat with other cats, no one knows? Was the cat given a proper health exam upon entrance to the shelter and prior to being placed with other cats, we do not know? And rescue groups take in cats with injures all the time, and there has not been, to our knowledge, an instance where someone adopted a cat from a shelter that has turned out to have rabies. But now that the Health Department as been contacted, there is no reversing the situation. However, the Health Department and the PG County Shelter have agreed that if someone can find quarantine space for the cats ASAP, the cats can be quarantined instead of being killed.

Langley Animal Hospital in Hyattsville, MD has generously offered to quarantine all four cats for six months at their vet hospital, but it will cost $6,000 to do so. ACR is willing to donate $1,000 to help these kitties, and two individual rescuers have offered to donate $100 each; however, that still leaves a large amount of money to raise for these unfortunate kitties, who have become victims of human error (and paranoia). If you wish to help these kitties, please send a tax-deductible donation to ACR’s Emergency Relief Fund.
In wanting to get involved in the animal relief efforts of Haiti, ACR contacted an animal rescue group located in the Dominican Republic to see how we can help. (No animal rescue organizations exist in Haiti.) A California based nonprofit, Animal Balance, is an organization of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, assistants and volunteers, coming together to create MASH-style sterilization clinics on islands around the world. They currently have about 400 people in their database, with whom they work. One of the groups Animal Balance works with is the Sociedad Dominicana para la PrevenciĆ³n de Crueldad a los Animales (SODOPRECA) or the Dominican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

ACR has been in contact with SODOPRECA’s vice-president and he has explained to us that, like in most Latin-American countries, their group does more for dogs than cats. This is true for a few reasons: 1) most of the countries are poor and animal rescues are far and few between 2) these countries prioritize funds to help livestock animals (or zoos for the tourist industry) rather than cats or dogs and 3) individuals are more likely to help the stray dog population (out of sympathy and/or safety and health reasons) than stray cat populations.

Because they rescue dogs, it was suggested that ACR find groups in the US that would take dogs currently in their shelters, so that they may rescue more animals from Haiti. Unfortunately, cats are on the bottom of the priority list and receive little or no assistance. Of course ACR wants dogs in need to be helped, but our mission is to assist cats and the other large animal organizations are addressing this matter. Therefore, ACR hopes to assemble a team to go to the Dominican Republic to help with cat rescue operations in their country (and with Haiti’s) and to TNR feral cats.

There was a need in Mexico, so ACR stepped in and inspired a monthly spay/neuter clinic. Now, there is a need in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, so ACR greatly wants to step in and help both the cats and its people. Like our project in Mexico, we need your help! The cats need your help! We will need money for all kinds of supplies (surgery supplies, medications, vaccines, food) and for travel arrangements, so if you wish to help the cats of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, please make a tax-deductible donation to ACR’s Emergency Relief Fund.
To make an online contribution, please visit our website

To mail a contribution, please send a check, money order, or credit card information to:

Alley Cat Rescue
PO Box 585
Mt. Rainier, MD 20712

If you wish to help a particular emergency situation, please indicate which your contribution is intended to help.

As always, thank you for your continued support and for caring for our feline friends! Every little bit makes a difference!

No comments: