Haute 100 Update: Found Animals’ Gary Michelson Offers $25M Incentive to Curb Pet Overpopulation

50,000 puppies and kittens are born every day in the U.S. How many do you think make it into a home? An estimated 3.7 million animals a year are euthanized in animal shelters in our country alone. Is it adding up now? Pet overpopulation due to a lack of spaying and neutering by owners is a huge problem and Dr. Gary Michelson is hoping to change that.

Michelson’s privately funded, LA-based non-profit group, Found Animals Foundation, has recently launched a new program called the Michelson Prize & Grants, which will award $25 million to scientists who develop a better way to sterilize dogs and cats. The challenge has hit globally, with more than a dozen institutions the world over implementing the use of cutting-age science to develop a non-surgical alternative to spaying and neutering.

Currently, the standard sterilization process for pets is to spay or neuter, which – while relatively safe and effective – requires anesthesia, adequate surgical facilities, and recovery care and time. In turn, this means higher costs to the owner among other obstacles. Seeing as how the majority of pet overpopulation comes from unaltered pets living in low-income neighborhoods, a single dose of a non-surgical sterilant would not only be effective, but cheaper and easier on both the pet and owner.

Dr. Michelson, renowned billionaire orthopedic surgeon and ardent philanthropist, is hoping to see the number of animals euthanized in shelters – which is in the millions – drop. Additionally to the $25 million incentive, the first person to develop the non-surgical method will be offered up to $50 million in funding for further non-surgical sterilization technology from the Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology.

Since the program has been introduced, Found Animals has received a flood of interest to participate. More than 150 letters of intent for the Michelson Grants have been received, with over 50 invited further to submit full grant proposals. Currently, 15 of those have been approved, backed by over $6 million in research funding.

“Through the interest we’ve seen so far, we’re confident this innovative program is moving in the right direction and we’re excited about what’s in store with this group of elite researchers,” said Shirley Johnston, D.V.M., Ph.D., who is a leading expert on animal reproduction and serves as Director of Scientific Research for Found Animals. She also is responsible for overseeing the prize and grants program.

For more information, please visit www.michelson.foundanimals.org.

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