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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Brown County, IN

Brown County, Indiana, has a population of about 15,000 people. The Brown County Humane Society (BCHS), located in Nashville, Indiana, is a private shelter that contracts with Brown County to take in strays. The shelter states on its website that it “accepts any and all of Brown County’s homeless dogs and cats.” Their euthanasia policy is stated as follows: “Currently only those dogs whose behavior is dangerous and beyond our resources to rehabilitate and pets which are so sick or injured that we cannot afford to treat are euthanized.”

The shelter has a high intake, although it has been trending down substantially in recent years. In 2011, for example, the shelter reported that it took in 1096 dogs and cats. That translates to an intake of 73 animals per 1,000 people. (There are various estimates of average annual shelter intake in the United States, ranging from 15 to 30 per 1000 population). In 2013, the intake was 727 cats and dogs, which is 48 per 1000 people. This report, from the 2011 Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference, details how BCHS has worked to lower intake through their spay-neuter programs.

BCHS’s live release rates for the last three years were 97% in 2011, 99% in 2012, and 98% in 2013. The 2011 figure includes animals who died in shelter care with the euthanasia total. The shelter reported deaths and euthanasias separately in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 the live release rate was 97% with deaths included, and in 2013 it was 95% with deaths included.

The shelter adopted out 839 dogs and cats in 2011, 757 in 2012, and 511 in 2013. I spoke with Jane Weatherford, a member of the shelter’s board of directors, in 2012 and asked how the shelter managed to adopt out so many animals in a community of only 15,000 people. She said that shelter volunteers supplement local adoptions by taking dogs and cats to off-site adoption venues. They placed 233 animals that way in 2011.

BCHS, like most successful shelters, uses social media. Its Facebook page features interesting photographs and appealing descriptions of pets up for adoption as well those who have been recently adopted.

Brown County, Indiana, was originally listed by this blog on April 15, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

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