NEAS Turns its Renowned Pet Transport Operation over to the MSPCA as Demand for Adoptable Pets Soars
BOSTON, Jan. 6, 2021 – In what leaders of both organizations hail as a win for animals and the people who love them, the MSPCA-Angell and Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS) today announced an affiliation that will allow the two organizations to work together to place more pets than ever into loving homes.
With the new relationship, the MSPCA-Angell will take on the oversight and management of NEAS, while NEAS will continue to operate as a separate organization, maintaining its name and Salem headquarters.
This affiliation between two of the region’s most recognized names in animal welfare comes as demand for adoptable animals skyrockets against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to record shortages of pets in shelters across the Northeast and beyond.
Leaders at both the MSPCA and NEAS want to meet this demand with animals from regions where shelters remain full—and in some cases overflowing—and where adoption prospects for many pets remain bleak.
“There’s no question that the pandemic’s economic fallout has hit some parts of the country harder than others, and we know from experience that when people fall on hard times, animals can become vulnerable,” said Neal Litvack, president and CEO of the MSPCA-Angell.
Litvack maintained that the combining of NEAS’ robust animal transport network with the MSPCA’s veterinary and adoption center resources will ultimately connect thousands more pets with adopters than either organization could manage on their own. “We’re stronger together than we are apart—and the real beneficiaries of this collaboration will be the animals we serve,” said Litvack.
NEAS: An Animal Welfare Legacy Like No Other
Founded by Cindi Shapiro in 1976 with a mission to place as many adoptable pets as possible in safe and loving homes, NEAS has been the region’s top source for adoptable dogs and cats, and in later years evolved its programming to include community outreach initiatives such as behavior and training classes, a community pet food bank, and temporary foster homes for animals impacted by domestic violence through a partnership with Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC).
After successfully running the organization for decades—and placing 145,000 animals into loving homes along the way—NEAS’ leadership reached out to the MSPCA to oversee governance and operations.
“Since our founding, we’ve never wavered from our mission to save as many adoptable dogs and cats as we can, and place them into loving homes,” said Cindi Shapiro, founder and president of NEAS.
“Over the past year, we began to discuss ways we could increase our lifesaving efforts, and joining forces with the MSPCA, with its deep expertise in all areas of animal welfare and its commitment to helping more pets find homes, was a natural fit. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this next chapter—which will not only cement NEAS’ legacy of compassion, but help so many more animals than we otherwise would be able to,” added Shapiro.
The Road Ahead
The MSPCA and NEAS have long shared the same vision for animal protection, and have been collaborating for years. Those efforts came into relief during 2020—a year of tumult unlike any other. Already this year, the MSPCA and NEAS coordinated rescue efforts to establish interim housing for 286 pets from eight separate animal transports from Florida, Georgia and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Overseeing those efforts is Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Angell. Keiley will serve as interim executive director of NEAS during the transition. “This [relationship] marks a major step toward our collective goal of helping every animal that we can—and ensuring they remain safe and healthy in their homes,” he said.
Keiley’s teams have in recent years focused increasingly on community outreach, hosting dozens of discounted spay and neuter, vaccination and microchip clinics in economically disadvantaged regions in Massachusetts, and—since the start of the pandemic—delivering more than one million free pet meals to legions of pet owners whose pets might otherwise go hungry, while expanding community clinic services to keep pets and families together through steeply discounted veterinary services.