LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An animal welfare organization granted nearly $1 million on Thursday to help encourage and facilitate pet adoptions from shelters in Los Angeles.

The funding, which was offered by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), will immediately provide $520,000 to the County of L.A. Department of Animal Care & Control, and $400,000 to the City of L.A. Animal Services.

The grant will waive cat adoption fees for qualified adopters, and will cover “make-ready” fees for rescue groups retrieving Chihuahuas, Pit Bull type dogs and cats.

“ASPCA research has shown that waiving cat adoption fees drives new and responsible prospective owners to shelters, dramatically impacting the lives of thousands of shelter cats whose futures are endangered,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “We also want to support local rescue groups by subsidizing fees they pay when moving animals most at risk out of city shelter systems to improve their chances of finding safe and loving homes.”

According to ASPCA, the grant is an addition to an existing program that includes free spay and neuter services for animals in South Los Angeles.

“It takes the whole community to help animals in need, and we hope that this program will provide even more incentive for the public to consider helping cats in their communities,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of the County of L.A. Department of Animal Care & Control.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the community to our shelters to meet the amazing shelter pets waiting for a loving home of their own,” added Brenda Barnette, general manager of L.A. Animal Services.

Adoption policies and procedures remain in effect.

The ASPCA, which was founded in 1866, became the first non-profit, animal welfare organization in North America to serve the nation’s leading voice for animals.

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