For Immediate Release


The grant is estimated to support 150 cats and kittens on their second chance journey

August 1, 2023 – PICKERING, ON – Action Volunteers for Animals (AVA) is a 100% volunteer-run charitable animal rescue dedicated to improving the lives of stray and feral animals. AVA has received $40,000 from PetSmart Charities of Canada™ to help prepare approximately 150 cats and kittens for adoption in 2023.

AVA’s adoption program begins with rescuing animals from shelter partners that are challenged with over-crowding. This includes rescues from high-volume shelter, taking in stray cats and kittens from the cold and working with smaller rescues to transfer cats and kittens to AVA. Once safe in AVA care, the pets are vetted including to ensure they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped.

Many cats also require blood work, x-rays and other diagnostics, medications to treat temporary or chronic illness, or dental procedures and hospitalizations. These treatments can be costly. Once they are healed, loved, and socialized, they are ready to find their forever families. This process can take weeks or months – sometimes longer. Having the support of a PetSmart Charities’ grant means a second chance for so many cats and kittens.

“We are grateful for the work of AVA and are thrilled to support their mission of helping as many pets find homes as possible,” said Heidi Marston, director of Pet Placement Initiatives at PetSmart Charities of Canada. “Making sure animals are healthy and receive preventative care sets them up to thrive in their new homes.”

AVA’s five partnered PetSmart cat adoption centres are its primary sources to showcase cats and kittens to potential adopters. “We greatly appreciate the support we receive from PetSmart staff in promoting our adoptable cats and the work of our rescue at each of these locations. This incredible $40,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will go a long way to helping so many vulnerable cats,” says Denise Harkins, President of AVA.


About Action Volunteers for Animals (AVA)

Action Volunteers for Animals (AVA) is a 100% volunteer-run charity working predominantly in the GTA (Peel Region, York Region, Durham Region, Hamilton and Toronto). AVA is sometimes able to help cats in other areas of Ontario and Quebec. We do our best to find a forever home for every cat that will trust humans. Where possible, we also assist animals whose guardians are no longer able to care for them. Cats not suitable for adoption – truly feral cats – are fed, trapped (humanely), sterilized, vaccinated and ear tipped at a veterinary clinic and returned back to a maintained colony. AVA has operated as a registered charity since 1981 thanks to generous donations by individuals, through adoption fees and grants from charities.

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About PetSmart Charities of Canada™
PetSmart Charities of Canada is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the country, PetSmart Charities of Canada helps thousands of pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities of Canada also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. Our grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter, and emergency relief. Each year, thousands of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada directly at, while shopping at, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities of Canada efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in Canada, granting more than $25 million since its inception in 1999. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity. To learn more visit

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Media Contact:

Denise Harkins

President, Action Volunteers for Animals

[email protected]


24-Hour PetSmart Charities

Media Line: 623-587-2177