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PetSmart Charities(R) and Best Friends Animal Society(R) Save Lives of 'Community Cats' in Albuquerque

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PHOENIX, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 10/16/12 -- In recognition of National Feral Cat Day, PetSmart Charities®, the largest funder of companion animal-welfare efforts in North America, and Best Friends Animal Society®, the flagship organization for the no-kill movement in the United States, announce the results of Albuquerque's Community Cats Project to date, a project made possible by a $700,000 grant from PetSmart Charities. The project aims to help lessen the burden on animal shelters by enhancing the humane population control of free-roaming cats in Albuquerque through the sterilization of 3,500 cats each year.

PetSmart Charities and Best Friends Animal Society will hold a news conference for a look at the collaborative efforts to save the lives of the community cat population through the Community Cats Project today at 2:00 p.m. at the Mayor's conference room (11th floor of City Hall), which will be attended by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and leaders of each partner organization involved.

Free roaming cats, commonly referred to as community cats, are responsible for the majority of kittens born in the U.S. Unfortunately, many of the kittens from these litters eventually end up in shelters, where they are at high risk for euthanasia. However, as a result of the project's launch in April, euthanasia of cats has decreased by 67 percent in City of Albuquerque animal shelters.

Additionally, through the first nine months of 2012, the number of kittens eight weeks and younger taken in by the Albuquerque shelters has decreased by 18 percent compared with the same period a year ago. This points to the success of the city's trap-neuter-return efforts, which have been enhanced by the PetSmart Charities grant.

"As we've witnessed with the Community Cats Project in Albuquerque, trap-neuter-return programs truly do make a difference," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "PetSmart Charities is proud to provide funding to organizations that are dedicated to saving the lives of community cats and decreasing the number of cats entering local shelters."

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry praised the progressive work of the city with regard to community cats, which drew the attention of both Best Friends Animal Society and PetSmart Charities, ultimately enabling the city to take advantage of services provided by the grant.

"We are pleased that our city was recognized for its forward-thinking work on the management of community cats," said Mayor Berry. "Through this partnership, we're looking forward to even more progress."

Best Friends Animal Society received the three-year grant from PetSmart Charities to fund the project and promote the trap-neuter-return method. Trap-neuter-return allows organizations to safely trap, evaluate, sterilize and vaccinate free-roaming cats. They are then returned to where they were trapped.

"With these funds, we've had the opportunity to collaborate with local partners who work tirelessly to control the free-roaming cat population in Albuquerque," said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. "Trap-neuter-return enables our teams to save the lives of free-roaming cats and work to build a better community."

"By providing funding to organizations committed to improving the Albuquerque community, PetSmart Charities helps us empower residents to get involved and do their part in controlling the free-roaming cat population in Albuquerque," said Barbara Bruin, director of City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department.

Success of the project in Albuquerque would not be possible without the support of local TNR and spay/neuter partners including:

Street Cat CompanionsAnimal Humane New MexicoVetCo •VetStat

Stay up-to-date on the many ways PetSmart Charities is saving the lives of homeless pets by visiting www.PetSmartCharities.org, and by following on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PetSmartCharities) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/PetSmartChariTs).

ABOUT PETSMART CHARITIES®
Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided more than $165 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets through its in-store adoption program. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS (7387).

ABOUT BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY®
Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

To become a fan of Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety
To follow Best Friends on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BFAS

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Contact:
Steve Pawlowski
Communications Manager
PetSmart Charities
mediacontact@petsmartcharities.org
(623) 516-3920

John Polis
Senior Manager Public Relations
Best Friends Animal Society
johnp@bestfriends.org
(435) 817-2980

Ryanne Dalton
GolinHarris for PetSmart Charities
rdalton@golinharris.com
(972) 341-2529



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