Maddie’s Fund Ends NYC Spay/Neuter Grants

This arrived in my email today:

As the Administrator of the Maddie’s® Spay/Neuter Project in NYC and the Maddie’s® Spay/Neuter Project for Stray Community Cats in NYC , I wanted to inform the TNR-certified community about the status of both spay/neuter grants.

The Maddie’s® Spay/Neuter Project in NYC, which provided low cost spay/neuter for the pets of NYC residents receiving public assistance was a 7-year grant made possible by Maddie’s Fund®. The Project began in 2005 so the grant cycle officially came to its end on December 31, 2011. Through careful financial management we were able to extend funding for these surgeries through the beginning of 2012 using funds from 2011 but the Project will conclude on March 31, 2012.

The Maddie’s® Spay/Neuter Project for Stray Community Cats in NYC was a one-year grant. It is incredibly difficult to obtain large scale funding for feral cat programs so we are extremely grateful to Maddie’s Fund for their generous support in making an increased number of spay/neuter surgeries for NYC’s stray and feral cats possible throughout 2011.

This Project greatly surpassed our expectations on several levels, and particularly underestimated was the level of participation from the Private Practice veterinarians. As many of you know, the Private Practice Veterinarians’ response to participating in this program was overwhelmingly and wonderfully positive! These practices demonstrated their commitment to addressing the cat overpopulation crisis here in NYC and were highly engaged in participating in the Project. They were all highly valued and much appreciated resources within their communities. The services made available from the Toby Project, The Humane Society of New York and the ASPCA was also bolstered by the increased funding. The Mayor’s Alliance again, through careful planning, was able to continue funding this program into the First Quarter of 2012 but due to the greater than projected number of surgeries performed by all the participating clinics, we will not be able to continue funding these surgeries past March 31st and until further notice.

We are working very hard to extend funding for The Maddie’s® Spay/Neuter Project for Stray Community Cats in NYC as we know how important this is to all of you and for NYC’s unowned cats, but we must put this program on hold as of April 1. We are expecting to have more information by the end of April and we will inform you as soon as we have any news.

As feral cat caretaker I know how disappointing this news is, but we need to keep in mind that there are still low cost or free spay/neuter resources available thanks to The ASPCA, HSNY and the Toby Project and other low cost programs. We are very fortunate here in NYC to have these partners and hope that everyone will continue their very important work. The Mayor’s Alliance continues to provide transport assistance so if you’ve been using a private practice in your neighborhood and may need help getting your cats to Glendale or any of the other clinics, please contact us at transport@animalalliancenyc.org.

First, a note of clarification: these are not the same as the Maddie’s Fund grant I have written about in the past – that is formally called the Maddie’s Pet Rescue Project. This notice is about two other grants from Maddie’s that fund spay/neuter in New York City that are also administered by the Mayor’s Alliance. Combined, these two grants provided more than $2 million per year for spay/neuter in NYC.

That the Mayor’s Alliance is notifying the community of the end of both grants on three days notice is very odd and suggests that they did not expect this. Unlike the Pet Rescue Project, these two grants have been non-controversial and I am not aware of any allegations of wrongdoing or fudging of numbers by the Alliance. Is this Maddie’s shot across the bow, a warning to the Mayor’s Alliance to clean up their act, or is it simply grants winding down and the Alliance simply doing a poor job of communicating it? Were grants to be threatened, these would not be the ones to start with – these grants do a tremendous amount of good with little downside, unlike the Pet Rescue Project – and the Pet Rescue Project has been extended beyond its original target date.

One thing is for sure – the main spay/neuter grant was expected to be a seven year grant and Maddie’s has evidently opted not to extend it. In that time, the Alliance has not found another source of funding, nor have they developed the income streams and/or fundraising skills to be self-sufficient. This is one of the essential problems of all the Maddie’s grants – they do not lead to self-sufficient systems, the good that they do lasts only the lifetime of the grant and no further.

Interesting – and I do hope that some of the NYC TNR people will chime in with their analysis as they are much closer to the issue than I.

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  • stray cat

    ok, so the grant was supposed to be for 7 years… but the timing coincides with several unfortunate developments in NYC feral cat care community: split between two main feral cat organizations related to proposed legislation and a former cat trapper gone postal and indiscriminately killing outdoor cats (he is still hired by Mayor’s Alliance”. Which makes me think that perhaps there was a talk of extension of the grant and it did not work out because Maddie’s recognized how corrupt and inneffectual Mayor’s Alliance leadership is? I am wondering what you guys think…

    • Agree Totally !!!
      Them hiring Paul as a trapper bringing feral cats to their death killed our funding S/N program from Maddie’s !!!

      • not to mention people’s pets that he outright trapped and killed, even going as far as to visit private veterinarians to have the animals killed!!!

    • elizabeth mcmahon

      Who are the 2 organizations to which you refer? I hadn’t heard anything about this. Thanks.

  • the note mentions both the 7-year and 1-year grant, so both have run out as of Saturday? the Toby Project mobile clinics are also cancelled for now (the stationary clinic is still active though), not sure if this is connected. does anybody know the history of the 1-year grant? MA was touting it as a ‘new’ program in November 2011, doesn’t sound like something that would be going away soon. if this was some kind of punishment from Maddie’s Fund, it sucks, because the only victims are the animals who won’t get fixed now.

  • Ev

    or maybe Maddie’s Fund is realizing what we all already know…that you cannot solve New York problems in California. New York problems have to be solved by New York and in New York. John, thank you for your reports and timely updates. Thanks to you we get a clearer picture of a very complex problem.

  • just heard from NC, the Toby Project is not in fact cancelling their services so at least that’s still available.

  • “these two grants provided more than $2 million per year for spay/neuter in NYC.” Holy cow, how many animals did they s/n with $2 million per year?

  • stray cat

    The grant for tnr was only for 1 year. Trappers are devastated. The program was hugely successful. Without the Maddie’s grant there will be only ASPCA clinic in Glendale and Toby project.