Scientists Work to Curb Pet Overpopulation

Grants fund research toward discovering a non-surgical pet sterilization procedure.

In 2008, Found Animals Foundation, a privately funded Los Angeles-based non-profit group, announced the launch of an innovative experiment to solve the problem of pet over-population. The Michelson Prize & Grants, named after Found Animals’ creator Dr. Gary Michelson, offered a $25 million prize to the first person to successfully develop a nonsurgical method for sterilizing cats and dogs, but it doesn’t stop here.

In addition to the $25 million incentive the Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology also offered up to a total of $50 million in funding for promising research.

To date, 15 of those grants have been approved totaling more than $6 million in research funding. Currently, research is under way everywhere from Australia and Argentina to California and Virginia, among several other states in the U.S.

“We are thrilled with the high level of interest we’ve seen from qualified applicants,” said Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals.

Surgical spay/neuter procedures are the current standard for sterilizing animals. While this approach is relatively safe and effective, it is not ideal. Spay and neuter procedures require general anesthesia and an adequately equipped surgical facility, both of which create obstacles for pet owners such as high costs, transportation of animals and inherent risks of surgery. A single dose, non-surgical sterilant would be a more effective solution to defer cost and inconvenience for many pet owners, according to experts.

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