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How it all began

CPAA: How It All Began …

Cynthia Magaro was my friend. It was her idea. It was her vision. Bring all the shelters and rescue groups together to work as a united front to make Central Pennsylvania a no-kill community.

What is a “no-kill” community? It is a community where animals are no longer put to sleep because shelters are overcrowded. It is a community where animals are no longer put to sleep because they are old or sick. It is a community where euthanasia is reserved only for animals who are so sick or injured that they have no quality of life.

In early 2001, Cynthia began to put her idea into action. She had several meetings with the shelters and rescue groups in the Central Pennsylvania area to talk about beginning to work together. Then, she was diagnosed with cancer and died six months later, on November 10, 2001.

I thought for sure that someone would take Cynthia’s idea and run with it. I waited, and waited, but nothing happened. I knew virtually nothing about what Cynthia had done previously, but I knew how important it was to her to bring all the animal welfare organizations together. So, in March 2002, I asked for help in locating her files on the previous meetings. The files were found and contained only the group contact list. I began e-mailing everyone on the list, asking if we could pick up where Cynthia left off.

In June 2002, we had our first meeting. We agreed to continue to work together with the goal of creating a “no-kill” community for our companion animals. We started off small, naming our group the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance, or CPAA. Jill Tarman created our logo. We created a group e-mail list so that we could easily contact and help each other. We spearheaded a billboard project in the Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg areas, advocating for spay neuter. We had meetings every other month. But, over the ensuing months, attendance eventually dwindled and interest was lacking. Something was missing.

Then came the No More Homeless Pets Conference in Philadelphia in October 2003. The conference confirmed the need for animal welfare groups to work together toward a “no-kill” initiative. The conference emphasized that working together was the only way to accomplish that goal. Because, working together as a group, we can accomplish so much more than working as individuals. As a group, we can pool our resources to help each other help the animals, all for a common goal. The conference created a groundswell of enthusiasm for the no-kill initiative. We had found what was missing.

We returned from that conference energized and inspired like never before. Creating a no-kill community in Central Pennsylvania was no longer just a laudable goal, it was entirely possible and we were going to make it happen. And our group, the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance was the way it was going to happen.

We formally organized as a non-profit organization. We appointed a Board of Directors. We developed a strategic plan for aggressive spay/neuter efforts, increased adoptions of orphaned animals, and public outreach and education. The positive energy created from the conference built upon itself to create even more positive energy within our group. We have an extraordinary alliance of dedicated individuals. I am proud and honored to work with each and every one of them.

Cynthia’s idea. Cynthia’s vision. It is now CPAA’s goal. And with your help, we are going to make it happen.

Zella Smith Anderson, Esq.
Founder and Executive Director

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