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Leading and Organizing Social Change for Companion Animals

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Governmental agencies and shelters are charged with controlling the animal overpopulation problem, and historically they have accomplished this by euthanizing companion animals. Community-wide efforts in diverse locations, however, have implemented creative strategies that have dramatically lowered the number of animals entering shelters and subsequently being euthanized. This paper, using a case study methodology, examines how an animal-focused grassroots coalition in Hillsborough County, Florida organized, developed, and led initiatives for change while enlisting the community's support in developing and implementing programs to solve the problem of companion animal overpopulation. This social change effort encountered five types of challenges: performance metrics, coalitions and collaboration, integrating professional and volunteer animal protection organizations, the handling of stray cats, and community leadership.
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