The Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance (CPAA) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit group that works alongside 20 local shelters, rescue education groups, and veterinarians to save the lives of cats and dogs through spay/neuter programs, adoptions, and public outreach and education. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), each year approximately 5 to 7 million animals enter shelters across the country and 3 to 4 million of those are euthanized. The CPAA aims to change this through their mission to make Central Pennsylvania a “no-kill” community.
While many people think that the main goal of a shelter is to place an animal in a home, CPAA founder and director Zella Anderson said, “Spaying and neutering really is the cornerstone of our efforts. In the short-term, getting dogs and cats out of the shelter and into foster or adoptive homes help save lives. But unless we reduce the number of animals being born through aggressive spay/neuter programs, we will never achieve the no-kill goal.” The CPAA’s “De-Sex in the City Program,” just one of their many programs, offers spay/neuter surgeries to dogs and cats in Perry, Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties at little to no cost depending on the owner’s financial situations.
Overpopulation is a huge issue in animal shelters in across the nation yet many people continue to purchase cats and dogs from pet stores and breeders. The NCPPSP (National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy) has found that 25% of dogs in shelters were purebred. The CPAA’s slogan urges pet lovers, “Don’t breed or buy while homeless animals die. Opt to ADOPT!” The organization strives to raise awareness of the loving animals filling their shelters. “Rescued animals are not damaged or defective just because they ended up at a shelter or in a rescue. There are all sorts of circumstances that can lead to an animal becoming homeless,” said Anderson. “Just because a person wants a specific breed of dog doesn’t mean they can’t rescue an animal. Most every breed of dog has a rescue organization dedicated to it somewhere. In fact, many our member rescues are breed specific.” Some of the breed specific rescues working with the CPAA include PA Boxer Rescue, Save a Yorkie Rescue, and Eskie Rescuers United.
Pit bulls are the most commonly used breed in dog fighting and due to the fallacies surrounding them, there is a high concentration of this breed in shelters and rescues. Anderson said, “Unfortunately, because of the misconceptions about the breed, they tend to stay at the shelter longer because they are more difficult to place in homes.” Many pits are brought into shelters “with wounds or scars consistent with dogfighting.” The CPAA formed the Anit-Dogfighting Task Force in 2009 to help put an end to dogfighting. They investigate all tips forwarded to them by phone or email as well as hold dogfighting awareness events to educate the public on this horrific “sport.”
On Saturday, May 4, 2013 the CPAA will host their Second Annual Dogfighting/Pit Bull Awareness Day at the Classic Drycleaners on High Street in Carlisle from noon to 3 PM. This year the event will be headlined by a pit bull named Honey. “We are calling the event “Honeyfest” in honor of a resilient little pit bull mix who recovered from severe dogfighting injuries last July,” said Anderson. Attendees to the event will be able to learn more about this underappreciated breed as well as meet some lovable pit bulls that are up for adoption. A raffle will be held and all proceeds will support the Anti-Dogfighting Task Force. For more information about Honeyfest, click the link at the bottom of the page. (Honey, pictured to the left).
As previously mentioned the CPAA is entirely volunteer run and is constantly looking for different forms of assistance. “The lack of homes, whether they be adoptive homes or foster homes, is a major challenge,” said Anderson. “We encourage people to consider adopting or fostering a dog or cat in need. Other opportunities include helping to transport animals to vet appointments or adoption events, walking rescued dogs that are boarded at kennels and attending one or more of our events (and bring friends)!” For those that may not have the time to commit to being a volunteer, there is a variety of ways to still get involved. The CPAA has a long wish list of small items they are seeking through donations. The list includes paper towels, Q-tips, tennis balls, and trash bags. They also offer a gift card program in which gift cards to GIANT food stores, Texas Roadhouse, and Isaac’s Deli can be purchased with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the CPAA.
Volunteering in animal rescues can be quite difficult and disheartening at times, but Anderson said that, “The most rewarding thing about working with rescue is seeing a once homeless animal living in a happy home and bringing so much joy to the life of his or her family.” She recalled her favorite rescue story from this year, a pit bull named Victoria. “Victoria came to us underweight and covered in dogfighting scars. As is common with dogs used in fighting, her ears were cut off very close to her head. Despite the cruelty she endured, Victoria was a love bug from the very start. Today, she is living in a happy home with kids who adore her as much as she adores them.” (Victoria, on the right).
For more information on the CPAA, upcoming events, and volunteer opportunities visit CPAA.info or Facebook.com/CentralPAAnimalAlliance and scroll to the bottom of the page to view a photo gallery of dogs up for adoption.
Show your support for Central Pennsylvania animal rescues and shelters by attending these events throughout the summer:
April 27: Spaghetti & Muttballs Dinner at St. Patrick’s Church, Carlisle from 4-7 PM, supports the Furry Friends Network
May 4: Honeyfest at Classic Drycleaners, 254 East High Street, Carlisle from 12-3 PM, benefits the Anti-Dogfighting Task Force
May 4: Yard Sale to Benefit CPAA at Hope Farms Development from 6:30 AM- 12 PM, Mechanicsburg
May 4: Compassionate Hearts Animal Adoption at Petsmart on the Carlisle Pike from 11 AM- 2:30 PM
May 4: Yorkie Day at Solanco Fairgrounds from 10:30 AM -4:30 PM, Quarryville, supports the Save A Yorkie Rescue
May 11: Hike for the Homeless at Kykeman Trail, Shippensburg, beginning at 9 AM, raises funds for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter
May 11: Rock n’ Rescue at the American Legion 974, New Cumberland, from 1-10 PM, support Operation Paws for Homes
May 11: Oldies Dance at the Neptune Fire Hall, Richland, from 7 PM-11 PM, fundraiser for the Humane Society of Lebanon County
May 18: Run/Walk for the Animals at HACC Harrisburg Campus beginning at 8 AM, walk to raise funds for the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area
May 19: 4th Annual Pet Walk at Little Buffalo Sate Park, from 12-4 PM, support the Perry County Animal Rescue
June 1: Critter Classic Golf Tournament at Blue Mountain Golf Course, Fredericksburg, begins at 12:30 PM, for the Lebanon Humane Society
June 1-2: Furry Fun Days Doggie Carnival at Shippensburg Township Park, from 9 AM to 4 PM, $5 a car donation benefits all attending shelters and rescues
June 8: Petapalooza Adoption Festival at PA United Church Center, Harrisburg, from 11 AM to 3 PM
June 8: Bully Bash and 5K Run/Walk at John Rudy County Park, York from 10 AM to 2 PM, raise awareness for bully breeds and benefit the York County SPCA
June 22: 3rd Annual Hoot n’ Howl 5K Smart Run at Turner Kia, beginning at 9 AM, fundraiser for CPAA
June 29: 2nd Annual Shake Your Tail Zumbathon at Gold’s Gym, Lancaster, begins at 1 PM, supports the Humane League of Lancaster County
July 6: Pie and Ice Cream Social at Lions Park, Adams County, from 9 AM to 3 PM, benefits the Adams County Humane Society
July 13: Dog and Daylily Days at Perfect Perennials Daylily Nursery, York, from 9 AM to 3 PM, fundraiser for the York SPCA
September 29: Woofstock, Riverfront Park, Harrisburg, supports the CPAA
(Click to enlarge photos)