Photo Courtesy of ASPCA

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) will spend nearly $1 million in an effort to save the lives of thousands of cats and other homeless pets waiting in Los Angeles-area shelters to be adopted, the nonprofit organization announced.

The ASPCA is granting $520,000 to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control and $400,000 to the city’s Los Angeles Animal Services.

Some of the grant money will be used to cover cat adoption fees.

“Despite the best efforts of city and county shelters and rescue groups, the situation for cats in Los Angeles remains dire — over half of the cats who enter city and county shelters never come out,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO.

Fees will be covered for qualified adopters of cats over four months of age in the six Los Angeles city shelters, and all cats and kittens in the six Los Angeles County animal shelters.

The ASPCA has found that waiving cat adoption fees drives responsible prospective owners to shelters, Bershadker said.

The grant will also cover “make-ready” fees typically incurred by qualified rescue groups when they retrieve cats, kittens, pit bulls, pit bull mixes and Chihuahuas from city and county shelters.

“We also want to support local rescue groups by subsidizing fees they pay when moving animals most at risk,” Bershadker said.

 A city spokeswoman said the money could help thousands of cats.

“We thank the ASPCA for this funding, which will bring more attention to the thousands of cats in L.A. city shelters waiting for loving homes,” said Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services.

A county spokeswoman urged residents to think about making a home for a cat.

“It takes the whole community to help animals in need, and we hope that this program will provide even more incentive for the public to consider helping cats in their communities,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. “We are grateful to the ASPCA for this grant and encourage the public to visit a city or county shelter and consider giving a cat a home.”

While fees will be waived, all adoption policies and procedures remain in effect, including existing criteria for potential adopters.

This grant program is part of the ASPCA’s overall commitment to save the lives of animals in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The multi-pronged effort includes a free spay/neuter clinic serving South Los Angeles, a safety net program designed to keep animals in their homes and out of the Los Angeles County shelter system, a relocation program to move animals from shelters in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to communities where they will have better chances of being adopted and grants to local partners.

More information on adopting from Los Angeles Animal Services is available at www.laanimalservices.com. Those interested in adopting from the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control can visit www.animalcare.lacounty.gov.

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