Maddie’s Fund Wants You!

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2000:

ALAMEDA, Calif.–– Maddie’s Fund executive director Richard Avanzino on January 3 confirmed that the $200 million foundation is now officially ready to review grant proposals from across the U.S.

Formed as the Duffield Family Foundation in 1994 by PeopleSoft founders Dave and Cheryl Duffield, Maddie’s Fund in 1998 changed to the present name in honor of the Duffield’s late dog Maddie; rededicated itself to the single mission of promoting nokill dog and cat control; and hired Avanzino away from the San Francisco SPCA, where as president 1974-1999 he fulfilled a 10-year plan that brought the city to no-kill dog and cat control in April 1994.

With the Duffields’ help, Avanzino thinks other cities can achieve similar results in half the time––either by following the San Francisco blueprint or by inventing their own.

Major multi-year grants have already been made to a coalition of shelters and rescue groups in Contra Costa County, California, headed by Tony LaRussa’s Animal Foundation, and to the California Veterinary Medical Association Feral Fix program, which will involve private practice veterinarians all over the state.

As ANIMAL PEOPLE went to press, Maddie’s was close to approving proposals from coalitions in at least three other California counties, Avanzino indicated.

The first proposals from outside California to reach serious discussion, Avanzino said, were from a Utah coalition led by the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and a coalition based in Sarasota, Florida.

Avanzino expects the typical Maddie’s grant to be in the six-or-seven-figure range. But it isn’t easy money.

Each applicant must win the cooperation of every major animal control agency and humane society within a defined territory such as a city, county, or state; must be headed by a no-kill humane organization with a positive history; and must follow a fiveyear plan outlining specific tasks which each participant is to perform toward lowering shelter killing of healthy and/or recoverable dogs and cats to zero.

Securing the active participation of private practice veterinarians improves the likelihood of getting a grant.

Receiving funding throughout the five-year period is contingent upon actually reducing shelter killing in each funded year.

Updated application information will supplant the details now online at as soon as possible, Avanzino told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

More megabucks coming

The Duffields anticipated in creating Maddie’s that the attention it generated would tend to pull funding into the drive toward no-kill from other sources. San Diego UnionTribune publisher Helen K. Copley and Joan Kroc, widow of the founder of MacDonald’s restaurants, proved the Duffields right in early 1998 when they pledged $2 million apiece toward building a new $8 million San Diego city-and-county animal shelter––on condition that it may only kill seriously ill, injured, and/or vicious dogs and cats.

San Diego animal control director Dena Mangliamele took the challenge. The county supervisors in April 1999 committed themselves to a five-year plan to end animal control killing, and the city council ratified the deal in late November. The city and county are also each to put up $2 million.

“I commend the donors for their requirement that the shelter become no-kill,” city council member Valerie Stallings said. “The time has passed when we can continue, as a civilized society, to kill 30,000 healthy animals a year.”

The city share of the funding will be raised by selling a 55% share of the new shelter to the San Diego Humane Society & SPCA, along with the tract of land that the humane society shelter now occupies. The Humane Society and SPCA will in turn save money by closing a large-animal shelter used by just 125 animals in 1998-1999.

Following S.F. blueprint

FiServ founder George Dalton donated $1 million of the $8.5 million cost of the new Wisconsin Humane Society shelter in Milwaukee, opened on December 1. The grand opening culminated a five-year drive to no-kill begun by executive director Victoria Wellens soon after she was hired in 1994. Closely following the San Francisco blueprint, Wellens divested WHS of not just one city animal control contract, as the SF/SPCA did in order to focus on neutering and adoptions, but 19, helping each city to form or ally with a new service provider. The new animal control agencies are not no-kill, but Wellens believes that by emphasizing low-cost neutering at the new WHS clinic and by displaying animals in need of homes at a facility similar to Maddie’s Adoption Center at the SF/SPCA, she can emulate the entirety of the San Francisco success.

Also hoping to follow the San Francisco blueprint, the 108-year-old Richmond SPCA of Richmond, Virginia, on November 17 announced it had purchased the future site of an $8 million no-kill adoption center and neutering clinic. A gift of $1.2 million made in memory of the late Elizabeth Ireland Graves started the capital campaign. Richmond SPCA executive director Robin Robertson Starr pledged to achieve the transition to no-kill, over an anticipated 10-year phase-in, without sacrificing the present open admission policy.

“We will accept the sick, injured, traumatized, infant, and undersocialized into our fold, nurture them, and provide them with a second chance at life,” Starr told media.

The Richmond city council meanwhile reinforced the intent to go no-kill by requiring that all animals adopted from the city shelter be neutered before they leave.

Land developer Camille Hoffman boosted the drive toward no-kill sheltering in Naperville, Illinois, donating a shelter site worth more than $250,000 to Animals Deserving Of Proper Treatment, a 10-year-old fostering network. ADOPT president Cher Martin and honorary director Camille Stelter told Chicago Tribune correspondent Phil Borchmann that they hope to build their first shelter during the coming year.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a race of sorts developed when the 90-year-old Animal Rescue League in October announced a five-year plan to go no-kill, beginning with shelter expansion and a strengthened fostering network. Six weeks later the 32-year-old Washington Area Humane Society announced that it would go no-kill this year. WAHS handled about 4,000 animals in 1999, reportedly placing 82%.

“We haven’t had to euthanize a healthy cat since 1997,” WAHS board member Nancy Shannon told Deborah Shankovich of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In Merced, California, both the Merced SPCA and the newly formed Merced Animal Rescue Foundation reportedly plan to open no-kill shelters soon. The community is currently served only by the Merced County animal control shelter.

Hayden blamed for sneezing

A 1998 California law mandating a three-day holding period before shelters can kill stray dogs and cats, and requiring that all dogs and cats be fixed before adoption, is encouraging the Humane Society of the Santa Clara Valley and others to drop animal control contracts and convert to no-kill. In the short run, however, it is also blamed by many shelter managers for increased crowding, disease, and killing, especially of owner-surrendered animals, according to a survey of 84 shelters released on December 13 by Virginia Handley, California coordinator for the Fund for Animals.

Among the shelters surveyed, 83% reported more crowding, 56% reported more disease, and 32% reported more killing. But those conditions may be strictly temporary for shelters that prepared for the new requirements instead of merely trying to defeat or circumvent the new law, authored by state senator Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles).

Oakland, for example, on November 23 opened a new state-of-the-art animal shelter four times larger than the 1960-vintage shelter it replaces. The Stanislaus County shelter, serving seven cities, expects to complete a new 50-kennel wing by July 2000. The Orange County Animal Shelter expected to have an in-house neutering clinic in operation by January 1.

The increased incidence of disease and killing, meanwhile, may be only partially attributable to crowding, as a wave of antibiotic-resistant upper respiratory infection swept southern California and Nevada. Activists blamed the care regimen at the Orange County Animal Shelter––but the outbreak hit the Dewey Animal Care Center and the Animal Foundation shelter in Las Vegas just as hard.

“It’s the worst epidemic I’ve seen in years,” Dewey director Jospeh Freer, DVM, told Kristen Peterson of the Las Vegas Sun. “We’ve had viruses before, but antibiotics kept them from becoming a secondary infection. Shelters magnify what’s out there,” Freer added: disease may spread faster in a shelter than elsewhere, but arrives from the population at large.


Resistance to change of a different sort surfaced in Augusta, Georgia. Trying to cut one of the highest rates of shelter killing in the U.S. (55.9 dogs and cats per 1,000 humans), Richmond County Animal Control on December 17 agreed to quit collecting adoption fees from the Central Savannah River Area Humane Society when it takes healthy animals from the pound for rehoming. But an Augusta Animal Control Advisory Board attempt to introduce a licensing differential of $20 extra for unaltered dogs was killed on December 29 by opposition from owners of hunting kennels.

Billy Grace, animal control director for North Little Rock, Arkansas, credits the March 1999 introduction of an animal control bylaw similar to the one that died in Augusta with reducing shelter intakes for the first time since 1995. The North Little Rock bylaw introduced a $100 license required of dog-breeders, plus a fee of $25 per litter born, and established a licensing differential of $25 extra for unaltered dogs. The new fees subsidize altering the pets of low-income families.

“But the new ordinances can’t take all the credit,” wrote Kelly Young of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, pointing out that the number of animals killed at the North Little Rock pound has actually fallen every year since 1995. Then the pound killed 74% of intake; in 1999 it killed 46%. Adoptions meanwhile soared from 12% in 1995 to 31% in 1999.

Avanzino generally favors incentives over compulsion. High unaltered licensing, reclaim, and surrender fees discourage licensing and reclaim of lost pets by low-income pet owners, Avanzino argues, while encouraging abandonment. Licensing, Avanzino believes, should be a low-cost service, not a form of taxation; reclaims of licensed pets should be allowed without punitive charges; and surrender fees should never be charged, though donations might be requested.

Experimenting with a free enterprise approach to reducing dog births, the Spokane County Humane Society in Spokane, Washington, on December 26 used $5,000 in recent bequests to buy the Von Noserhausen Dachshunds breeding kennel at Diamond Lake from Doug and Julie Anderson, who had bred dogs there for about 20 years. The deal brought the humane society 23 breeding bitches, believed to have produced 200 to 300 puppies per year. The Andersons reportedly retired from dog-breeding to run a nursery.

Even the SCHS board members who approved the deal said it wasn’t an approach they would recommend often––but in this instance, they suggested, it might have been the least costly way to solve a problem.

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