The City of London Animal Services, together with the London Animal Care Centre and rescues across the city, helped contribute to saving the lives of over one million cats in North America through the Million Cat Challenge.
The Million Cat Challenge initiative was launched in 2014 by UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, two of the most widely-recognized shelter medicine programs in the world. More than 1000 shelters across North America embraced the challenge, including City of London Animal Services and the London Animal Care Centre, to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats.
Participating shelters were required to submit their data to the challenge organizers so that the nation-wide progress of the program could be tracked. In just two years, the initiative saw over 500,000 cats saved from euthanasia. London Animal Care Centre was recognized by the challenge organizers and named as one of the 131 top performers in the challenge as the number of cats euthanized was reduced by over 50%.
Between 2014 and 2018, the participating shelters across North America helped save a total of 1,148,129 cats.
“Londoners can be proud of London Animal Care operators of the municipal shelter, and proud of the collective efforts of those in the community that advocate for lost or abandoned pets – the Million Cat Challenge was a large endeavour with amazing results,” says Heather Chapman, Manager, Animal Services, City of London.
“The London Animal Care Centre would like to acknowledge all of the efforts of the London community rescues, stakeholders and adopting families that contribute to animal welfare. It takes an entire community working together and excellent programs to provide a high level of animal welfare to our stray pet population,” says Kent Lattanzio, Director of Operations, London Animal Care Centre.
Since the end of 2015, the London Animal Care Centre has consistently maintained an average live release rate over 90%, both for cats and dogs. This was achieved primarily through the establishment of transfer partnerships with rescue organizations, promotions and adoption campaigns. The live release rate is expected to remain strong. Last fall they implemented a shelter-neuter-return program (SNR), whereby healthy feral cats entering the shelter were spayed/neutered, vaccinated and eartipped prior to be returned to the location they were found at. Through this program, healthy non-adoptable cats are no longer at risk of euthanasia.
In July 2017, the City of London opened the Catty Shack, a 25-cage adoption centre located at 756 Windermere Rd. The adoption centre accepts the overflow of adoption ready cats from London Animal Care Centre, freeing up shelter space and resources for incoming animals.