City: Animal control's euthanasia rate sees 'dramatic' drop

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 12, 2014 

This kitten was born to a feral cat that was trapped, neutered and released, but will stay at the Animal Care and Control Center to be adopted.

The city’s Animal Care and Control Center’s euthanasia rate continues to drop, according to a release from the city.

In 2010, the rate at which animals taken in by the ACCC were euthanized was close to 80 percent. That had steadily dropped to 64 percent in 2011, 52 percent in 2012, and 38 percent in 2013. In January of this year, the rate was just 22 percent, the city reports.

Public Works Director Pat Biegler, who oversees the Special Enforcement Division, of which ACCC is part, credits the city’s Save-A-Pet plan and the more recent effort to trap, neuter and release feral cats.

“There is no word other than ‘remarkable’ to describe this kind of dramatic result in saving the lives of animals and adopting them into loving homes,” Biegler said.

The Save-A-Pet program was launched in 2011 and involves partnering with rescue groups, enlarging its network of volunteers and expanding its off-site adoption efforts. The trap, neuter and release program was launched last year when the city was awarded a $58,250 grant from PetSmart.

“The TNR program works because no one who cares for a feral cat colony would bring the cats into ACCC if they believed the animal would be put down,” said Drale Short, head of the Special Enforcement Division. “With the TNR program, we are able to show the colony caretakers that if you allow us to spay or neuter and vaccinate the cats, we can return them to you healthier. That stops the propagation process and allows to have cat population control.”

Using the grant, the city has so far trapped, spayed or neutered and released about 800 of the 1,000 cats the grant will pay for, Short said.

“There is no doubt the TNR program, along with out other efforts, is causing the low euthanasia rates that we see,” said Biegler.

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