01/02/2013 01:22 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2013

How We Were the Voice for Animals in 2012

It's hard to believe that another year is over, and as I reflect on 2012 I'm amazed at all that was done to help animals. From rescuing animals imperiled following natural disasters and cruelty situations to working with animal shelters to increase their adoption rates, the ASPCA witnessed many successes throughout the country. I was grateful to see firsthand what the power of many -- both individuals and groups small to large -- could accomplish when armed with inspiration, collaboration and hard work. Let's reflect on some of what we've been able to do for animals this past year, thanks to our generous supporters:

  • From preparing for Hurricane Sandy to dealing with its aftermath, we are appreciative that so many people and groups have worked with us to protect animals at risk. As I wrote about in a previous column, television personality and philanthropist Rachael Ray donated500,000 so we could open an emergency boarding facility to provide temporary sheltering for hundreds of animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. PetSmart Charities, Inc. provided pet supplies to thousands of pet owners throughout the region. The New York City Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYC VERT) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT) were with us every step of the way, providing quality veterinary care to animals impacted by the devastating storm. Being able to work with partners like Rachael Ray, PetSmart Charities, Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, NYC VERT, NVRT, as well as individual responders and animal welfare groups, meant that we could help thousands of needy animals.
  • We collaborated with community partners across the country to save the lives of homeless animals, and we sponsored the ASPCA Rachael Ray100K Challenge in which the animal shelter and rescue group contestants saved 56,232 dogs and cats during the three-month competition - 14,376 more lives than last year.
  • Our animal relocation initiative transferred more than 1,300 dogs and cats from areas where they were in oversupply to areas where they would be in demand. We worked with approximately 30 source shelters and 29 destination shelters to achieve our goal of saving more animals.
  • We made more than 1,650 grants totaling over16.7 million. These grants supported over one thousand different shelters (private and municipal), rescue groups, sanctuaries, and other animal welfare organizations of all sizes across the country, in all 50 states. We supported animal welfare organizations in all of their important work from their adoption events to spay/neuter and veterinary assistance to cruelty prevention and response, such as investigations, raids, and rescues. We helped support training of veterinary students and animal welfare professionals and provided funds in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.
  • We provided approximately 37,000 free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to financially needy pet parents in New York City, and we trained other communities how to provide quality high volume spay/neuter surgeries. At the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, we conducted approximately 15,000 pet examinations.
  • We advocated on behalf of animals before the federal, state and local governments and at the grassroots levels. We collaborated with legislators and humane groups to draft and garner support for laws protecting animals, such as a ban on the sale of horse meat in New Jersey and animal control reform in Massachusetts.
  • Through a generous1 million grant from the Carroll Petrie Foundation we saved thousands of dogs by paying50 subsidies to get them out of animal shelters.
  • We helped rescue hundreds of cats from Caboodle Ranch, a non-profit sanctuary where animals had been severely neglected. We cared for those cats for months, treated their many illnesses, provided behavioral enrichment, performed spay/neuter surgeries on them, and then worked with Florida and other animal rescue groups to find homes for the cats.
  • Our responders assisted in the removal, forensic evidence collection, and on-scene documentation of 50 dogs seized from a dog fighting operation in an apartment building in the Bronx. For nearly two months we cared for and socialized the dogs and then worked with placement partners to find homes for the adoptable dogs.
  • The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled its 2 millionth case and helped more than 200,000 animals in 2012. While the majority of the animals helped were dogs and cats, the APCC also aided a variety of other animals, including a skunk, a kinkajou, a northern fur seal and a serval.
  • We focused on cutting off the cycle of puppy mill sales through our "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign. We asked animal lovers to refrain from buying anything from pet stores that sell puppies.

None of what was accomplished for animals last year could have been achieved were it not for the animal lovers across the country who volunteered, spread the word, joined in advocacy efforts, donated to fund our work and helped in innumerable other ways. We look forward to working with you to save more animals in 2013.