Our organization is the brainchild of three individuals: Drs. Henry Baker, Stephen Boyle, and Brenda Griffin. Together, they recognized the need for non-surgical options for companion animals, as well as the need for collaboration in order to see progress.
For Stephen Boyle, involvement came about somewhat by chance. In 1998 he was working on refinement of a cattle brucellosis vaccine at Virginia Tech’s Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. A second year veterinary students approached Dr. Boyle to perform research during the summer and proposed that he get involved in more “meaningful” research – namely, fertility control for free-roaming and feral cats. The student’s zeal had a profound impact and made a lasting impression on Dr. Boyle.
According to Brenda Griffin, “It was Esther Meckler who actually connected the initial group together. She invited several of us to do a panel on non-surgical sterilization at the 2000 Spay USA Conference that year. I went and Henry asked me to deliver a message to the others there. He wanted to create a network of researchers working in the field specifically for cats and dogs. I met Stephen there and he was thinking just exactly the same thing - so the three of us got together! Voila! Esther was always so good at networking people, so I often think of her when I remember the beginning.”
Dr. Boyle then convened a meeting at Virginia Tech in August 2000, which drew 12 experts interested in improving contraceptive technology for cats and dogs. Up to this point, researchers and veterinarians interested in the cause had largely been working independently, and meeting participants felt strongly that non-surgical fertility control needed greater support and collaboration than was currently being used. The pivotal meeting was funded by Gerald R. Dodge Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Virginia Tech.
The Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs grew out of this meeting, motivated by a unique mix of scientific acumen and dedication to animal welfare.
Henry Baker remembers, “Some might get a chuckle about how ACC&D got that name. The elements, Alliance, Contraception, Dog and Cat were obvious, but some thought was given as to how the words would be organized. The first suggestion was Alliance for Contraception of Dogs & Cats, but the acronym was ACDC. Being devout professionals, we wanted no part in being identified with punk-rock, so it was quickly agreed to adopt ACCD. Problem solved.”