$75 Million Dollar Race: End Pet Overpopulation, Euthanasia – Found Animals

Found Animals, what a great story!  An orthopedic surgeon invents new tools for his craft, becomes a billionaire, and decides to startFound Animals a Foundation to benefit animals.  Money or no, the surgeon works on the mission and programs from his kitchen table for three years, finally hires an executive director and starts things off with a $75 million dollar bang!  Gary Michaelson, one of Forbes 400 richest, is the founder of Found Animals Foundation. There’s an article on their website that quotes Michaelson, saying the money needed to capture, house, feed, and kill pets in sheltering systems nationwide is “staggering”, that we should be able to find a “more humane” way (Sciencemag.org, 18 Sept 2009, David Grimm).

I spoke with Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals, who explained that the Michaelson Prize and Reproductive Biology grants work hand in hand to spur research from a wide range of scientific fields. Grants, $50 million dollars worth, are awarded for promising research that might not otherwise get funded, and that may open new pathways to a single-dose solution to spay/neuter for cats and dogs, and the $25 million dollar prize. That’s quite an incentive.

Found Animals Partners in Solutions to Euthanasia and Pet Overpopulation

The Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs (ACC&D), a not-for-profit that has been working in this field for the past 10 years,  promotes and supports the distribution of new contraceptive products.  Finding solutions to overpopulation lessens the need for euthanasia and has added value in reducing incidence of rabies for both animals and humans. ACC&D is, as I believe Aimee said, a perfect partner for Found Animals with their expertise in the field, science advisory board, and goals.

Having a grant of this size sparks a lot of interest from the best and brightest in their fields.  Found Animals and ACC&D decided to work together on an international conference.

Found Animals and ACC&D Plan International Symposium on Pet Overpopulation

What happens when you get a room full of scientists from many fields, animal welfare groups, Zoo representatives, pharmaceutical companies, Vets Beyond Borders, medical school representatives, veterinary colleges, specialists from 25 countries all working toward a solution to the pet overpopulation problem?  Aimee calls it ideation.  You’ve probably experienced it – when a thought sparks an idea,  bumps up against a roadblock, and someone else comes up with a work around to the problem – a room can hum with that kind of creative interaction.  There are some great ideas out there, not of the holy grail variety, but smart and useful ideas. You can see the results of the 4th Symposia here

Aimee went on to talk about a couple of the creative things Found Animals was doing for local shelters – check out the podcast. Found Animals is a very creative group, working to do all they can to better the lives of animals – it was one of those interviews where when time is up, you’re shocked it has to end!



Hello! I came over by way of the Blog Hop, and am glad I did. Such an interesting site. I am a follower now and will be back! Sure hope you'll stop over and visit us sometime too!

Mary Haight
Mary Haight

Thanks for stopping by on the blog hop Cherie! Check out Found Animals website for more info. If all the organizations in your area, or the bulk of them, are taking from the shelter (is it a municipal shelter?) it's a good idea to look at how many of the other dogs, the dogs who were obviously owned and are adoptable, are returned to owners. Sometimes the flood comes in not long after mass foreclosures in the area putting stress on many area systems. I know how physically and emotionally difficult this work is, and you know the dogs thank you for what you do=)

Cherie K. Miller
Cherie K. Miller

I'd love to know more about what you're doing. I volunteer at the Etowah Valley Humane Society (Cartersville, GA) and it just seems like the homeless, abandoned, and neglected dogs at the shelter we pull from are coming in as a flood. Somethings got to change in the system.

I'm dropping by the pet blog hop today - stop by to see the gorilla at the Calgary Zoo enjoying a little fun: http://www.pet-peeves.org/2011/06/25/calgary-zoos-breakdancing-gorilla/

Please comment on my blog - one of my pet-peeves is the number of animals euthanized in shelters every year.

Mary Haight
Mary Haight

Hi Hanna,

Yes, just because good things are happening in one area, in this case science, it doesn't mean you can relinquish responsibilities in other areas.

I do like the idea of adopt don't shop and because it is unlikely we will be able to close pet shops across the US, Best Friends' and others have been working on converting pet shops from selling to working with local shelters to bring in those dogs, helping to change the face of what people see in a pet shop, and their perception of "shelter" dogs. Shelter dogs are not "less than" any other dog, and if the public won't go to the shelter because of negative beliefs or experiences, the only way to get the dogs seen and possibly adopted is to get them out to the places the public goes. Thanks for stopping by!

Hanna at Dog Products
Hanna at Dog Products

These grand scale projects are true blessings and I wholeheartedly applaud all those who take part in them. However, until their missions are accomplished, there are things individuals can do. But that requires more local litigation, more law enforcement and a whole lot more educations.

My home state has laws that require owners to neuter and spay animals which they bring to public places such as beaches, parks, etc. But the public, which is either unaware of the significance or is simply uncaring, fails to report offenders. So, these owners continue to keep animals that are bound to procreate and add onto the already overpopulated sector.

I would also like to see less breeders and no animals sold from pet shop windows. Pet adoption should be what everyone chooses when deciding to incorporate a cat or a dog into their lifestyles.


  1. […] the research, and some recent developments (and otherwise) in the field. You can find the interview here.Photo credit: andrewr Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin share via Reddit Share […]

  2. […] Ok, now go read more about Found Animals and listen to the interview. […]

  3. […] is that not a better answer to reducing the population of street dogs? After all, VWB are now using an inexpensive non-surgical alternative to neutering, an excellent fit in this situation. Debbie reminded me it’s a funny thing about communities […]

  4. […] with Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals Foundation, “$75 Million Dollar Race: End Euthanasia“ takes this spot. The mission of Found Animals Foundation goes well beyond the ordinary in […]