Arlington Animal Services, Best Friends Animal Society Partner to Improve Cats’ Lives

In Arlington, people dream big and the idea of dramatically increasing the lifesaving efforts for animals is an achievable goal in The American Dream City.

Arlington Animal Services (AAS) received grants from national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society to increase the number of cats humanely trapped, spayed or neutered and vaccinated by 1,000. This includes both free-roaming “community cats” as well as cats that are relinquished to the City’s shelter. Best Friends is also funding a full-time community cat coordinator position for one year and providing $5,000 for Trap-Neuter-Return program supplies and equipment. During this time, AAS will also provide another 300 spay/neuter/vaccinate surgeries on shelter and community cats.

“The partnership with Best Friends Animal Society is a huge blessing for Arlington’s community cats, shelter staff, and volunteers,” Arlington Animal Services Manager Chris Huff said. “The TNR program for our city can only grow with success by the tools, funding, and partnerships made possibly by Best Friends Animal Society.”

Best Friends Animal Society is excited to be working with Arlington Animal Services, said Desiree Triste-Aragon, the Society’s Community Cat Program manager.

“These community cat projects save lives, and their positive impact extends beyond the cats — to shelter and enforcement staff, volunteers and advocates, and the community. Once these cats are sterilized and vaccinated, they can live healthy, happy lives in their communities, where caring residents look out for them,” Triste-Aragon said. “Sterilization and vaccination provide a public health benefit to the community, too, a vast improvement over the failed trap-and-kill approach that has been used for generations.”

It’s not just cats that will benefit from this partnership between AAS and Best Friends Animal Society.

Pat Guerrero, who is Best Friends Animal Society’s Volunteer Engagement & Programs senior manager, and her team guided AAS through achieving the prestigious designation of a certified Points of Light Service Enterprise. Guerrero said Best Friends has a licensing agreement with Points of Light, an organization dedicated to mobilizing people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns. That licensing agreement allows Best Friends to offer this opportunity to Best Friends Network partnering animal welfare organizations to enhance their own volunteer programs, utilizing a comprehensive assessment of engagement practices supported by strategies, tools, and coaching to improve performance across ten areas of volunteer engagement practice.

“Arlington Animal Services met the best-in-class standards in effectively delivering on their mission by strategically engaging volunteer time and talent,” Guerrero said. “By working more effectively and efficiently, they will now be getting a greater return on their volunteer investment. Service Enterprise certification signifies that organizations have the capability and management expertise to strategically use volunteers to improve the performance of their organization. Research shows for every dollar invested in effective volunteer engagement, organizations can expect three to six dollars in return through more effective program delivery. This represents a three hundred to six hundred percent return on investment. Service Enterprises are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and better resourced to do their work.”

Feral Cat Sundays

The Trap-Neuter-Return program was approved and recommended by the Animal Services Advisory Board for consideration by the Mayor and City Council, and approved by Resolution on August 20, 2013. Support from the community and major animal welfare organizations have helped grow the program.

The generous Best Friends grant award is a big boost for the program’s momentum with hiring of the new TNR position, as well as an anonymous donation of $26,000 received for the purchase of a TNR and animal transport van. The van has been ordered and should be available within 120 days.

Be watching for information about upcoming neighborhood meetings to be held regarding the TNR program, with information about TNR vouchers, trapping, etc.

Feral Cat Sunday events will be held (for Arlington residents only) on the 3rd and 24th of June 2018. Space is limited and booked on a first-come, first-serve basis. The first 40 registrations will be accepted for each event. Feral and community cats receiving these services will no longer reproduce. No more stray kittens! TNR improves their lives and yours.

About Arlington Animal Services

Arlington Animal Services encourages responsible pet ownership by offering licensing programs, field enforcement services and educational programs for Arlington citizens.

Arlington Animal Services moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in January 2009, and looks forward to a 10-year celebration in 2019. The center currently operates with 28 full-time employees and a growing volunteer program with over 340 active volunteers.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 2,100 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends has regional centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from 17 million per year to about 1.5 million. That means there are still more than 4,100 dogs and cats killed every day in shelters, just because they don’t have safe places to call home. We are determined to get that number to zero by the year 2025. Working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations and you, we will end the killing and Save Them All. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.

To become a fan of Best Friends on Facebook, go to Facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety. Follow Best Friends on Twitter (@BestFriends) and Instagram (@BestFriendsAnimalSociety).

For more information, contact Arlington Animal Services at 817-459-5898, or call the City’s Action Center at 817-459-6777.

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