LOS ANGELES — Michelson Found Animals, a California-based organization that has spent the last 15 years funding pet surrender prevention in the Los Angeles area, is looking back on a decade and a half of helping animals through its programs, investments, research, education, and advocacy.

Since its founding in 2005, the organization has helped more than six million pets in the United States. It has provided $11 million in grants for programs related to pet surrender prevention, spaying and neutering, and raised $8 million through its Saving Pets Challenge.

Some key achievements include starting the first free national pet microchip registry, funding 38 scientific research projects, providing free pet food and care services to more than 12,500 pet owners since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, and facilitating more than 16,000 pet adoptions through its Adopt & Shop retail locations.

"Over 15 years, we have dramatically altered the landscape for animal welfare in Los Angeles," said Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. "In many ways, we are putting ourselves out of business by dramatically reducing shelter euthanasia through expanded spay and neuter services, microchipping and registry services, and other programs and grants to keep pets and their families together. We remain committed to being an agent of change disrupting broken systems and pursuing catalytic solutions to save lives by helping pets and the people who love them."

In 2020, Michelson Found Animals launched another initiative, its Better Neighbor Project, which partners with human service organizations to support underserved communities and their pets. The program provides pet food and supplies to local food pantries, low-cost spaying and neutering services and vaccinations, and played a part in making emergency shelters pet-inclusive.

"For our 15th year of driving change throughout the animal welfare community, there is much to celebrate,” said Brett Yates, chief executive officer. “Through the Better Neighbor Project, we have been able to provide food for more than 12,500 pets throughout some of the most underserved communities in LA. Seeing and hearing the true appreciation from the individuals and families who received food or services has been a true light amid a challenging social and financial environment."

Michelson Found Animals has invested more than $100 million into its programs and partnerships, It is the largest private funder of spay and neuter, surrender prevention and community cat programs in the Los Angeles area, the organization shared.

For example, a $75 million investment by Michelson Found Animals helped develop a single-dose sterilizer for dogs and cats in an effort to reduce overpopulation in the United States.

The organization also partners with Kinship to support the Leap Venture Studios annual pet industry startup program, which supports early-stage companies innovating in the pet nutrition, product and veterinary care space.

Michelson Found Animals said it plans to launch new education and advocacy initiatives in 2021, continuing on its 15-year legacy of improving the lives of pets and pet owners alike.

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