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Billionaire’s best friend – $200M for cats and dogs

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The U.S. animal welfare community has received its largest contribution ever — $200 million – from a software billionaire who wants to save the 6 billion to 8 billion animals put to death each year in America’s shelters, the Los Angeles Times reports.

PeopleSoft founder David Duffield established Maddie’s Fund last year in honor of his miniature schnauzer.

Richard Avanzino, who made the San Francisco SPCA the nation’s best-known no-kill shelter, was recruited to run the foundation. 

Grant rules limit eligibility to nonprofit animal welfare groups that can eliminate euthanasia in their communities. The fund’s no-kill guidelines disqualify government-run shelters as well as many nonprofit groups.

Duffield plans to give most of his fortune — estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion — to the foundation.

The California-based foundation already has received well over 1,000 applications from as far away as Europe and Africa — and has distributed nearly $10 million.

Duffield is unapologetic about his methods, which have drawn criticism from animal activists who say his no-kill imperative ignores the reality that there are not enough homes for all strays, the Times says.

Others are offended by his decision to lavish his riches on animals instead of people.

“The American people are well ahead of the shelter industry and will demand nothing less,” Duffield told the Times, citing survey findings that  Americans typically refer to pets as best friends and family members.

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