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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is an independent city in Maryland with 622,000 human residents. The Baltimore metro area has about 2.7 million people. Animal sheltering is provided for the city by the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) (not to be confused with the Baltimore County animal shelter). BARCS takes in more than 11,000 animals per year.

BARCS is a non-profit that was formed in 2005 from the old municipal shelter for the purpose of working with the city’s animal control. Jennifer Brause was the founder of BARCS and has been its executive director since 2006. At the time of the takeover, the city shelter had a save rate of only 2% (not a typo).

The shelter accepts owner surrenders on a drop-off basis, with the only requirement being to provide identification and complete a questionnaire about the pet. BARCS accepts owner surrenders from outside its jurisdiction for a fee.

BARCS does not post its statistics on its website, but it reported a 78% live release rate in 2013 and stated in 2014 that it was running at 80% as of September. Baltimore was one of the cities that was featured at last year’s Best Friends national conference, and here is the playbook that the Baltimore shelter prepared for the conference. The playbook details the shelter’s plans for further improvement. (The playbooks for other cities that were featured at the 2014 conference are at this link.)

BARCS has teamed up with the Baltimore Humane Society and the Maryland SPCA, which is headquartered in Baltimore, to form the Baltimore Animal Welfare Alliance. The three shelters cooperate on adoption events, neighborhood-level targeting of spay-neuter efforts, and balancing shelter capacity.

Baltimore is counted in the Running Totals as an 80%+ community.

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