Quita Mazzina

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April 16: Quita Mazzina
Quita Mazzina; Executive Director of Humane Alliance and the National Spay/Neuter Response Team
Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina How many pets have been spayed/neutered at the Asheville clinic to date: 250,000
Ask Quita Mazzina what's remarkable about herself and she will reply, "Nothing about myself — everything about the team."

Growing up, Mazzina always wanted to become the coach of a sports team, mentoring and educating students on the value of teamwork. Instead, she took that desire and became an advocate who has devoted the last 10 years to coaching and mentoring others on how to improve the lives of companion animals, not just in her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, but in cities all across the nation.

"More companion animals lose their lives to euthanasia than any disease or condition combined," she says. Mazzina is dedicated to creating a nationwide team that will work to end this epidemic.

Operating the Humane Alliance of WNC, Inc, the nation's only state-of-the-art national training center solely for spay/neuter agencies, Mazzina says that spaying and neutering is the key component in the fight against pet overpopulation. What began as a small spay/neuter clinic in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1994, is now the nation's premier spay/neuter clinic with more than 250,000 pets sterilized to date.

To engage other communities in addressing the epidemic of euthanasia of the homeless, abandoned companion animals, Mazzina has worked diligently to create a collaborative culture where all knowledge gained at her agency is shared with other agencies in the U.S. and Canada. In the fall of 2003, Mazzina assembled a team of facilitators to analyze the feasibility of adding the National Spay/Neuter Response Team (NSNRT) — a mentoring program solely for spay/neuter clinics. Mazzina held a small seminar in Asheville with the focus of opening a spay/neuter clinic, hoping for 50 attendees. Instead, 165 people showed up, showing the desire and need for this kind of mentoring program.

Mazzina set out to secure the necessary funding to begin this unique mentoring program. Armed with commitments of $1 million from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and $1 million from PetSmart Charities toward the $3 million capital campaign, Mazzina led the Humane Alliance to open the first state-of-the-art national spay/neuter training center in Asheville, NC in June 2008. This national training center provides optimal conditions to promote strategies, techniques, and best practices for designing, developing, delivering, and managing high-quality, high-volume surgical sterilization techniques. Now every year, more than 20 spay/neuter agencies from across the nation send staff for hands-on training to learn the specialized program and implement it in their communities.

So far, the Humane Alliance has mentored more than 550 stewards across 29 states and Canada who have opened 75 high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter clinics in an effort to reduce companion animal shelter intake at shelters across the nation. As a result of these efforts, more than one million dogs and cats have been sterilized across the U.S. and Canada. Under Mazzina's leadership, the Humane Alliance's mentoring program, the National Spay/Neuter Response Team, has been a catalyst for a nationwide movement to execute the best defense against euthanasia, which is prevention by sterilization.

Mazzina believes saving the lives of companion animals can only be accomplished through a team effort. As a result, Mazzina's commitment to share knowledge and mentor others has created an unprecedented opportunity to save the lives of companion animals from euthanasia.