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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

News of the Week 05-31-15

The state of Colorado will be releasing its shelter statistics for 2014 in the next week or two. The statistics are collected pursuant to the state’s PACFA reporting rule and include all intake shelters and rescues. The live release rate for Colorado as a whole for 2013 was 89%. We may find out when the statistics for 2014 come out that Colorado is the first state ever to go over the 90% LRR mark for an entire year. Summary statistics will be posted on the state’s PACFA website for those interested, and I will be reporting on the full statistics on the blog.

The Austin Pets Alive! facility was flooded in the recent torrential rains in Texas. A call to the public resulted in dozens of people lining up to provide temporary homes for the animals. Volunteers also cleaned up the water and unclogged drains, allowing the shelter to reopen in only two days. Due to all the help from the public, APA! was able to take in 67 dogs from another facility to keep them from being euthanized.

Maddie’s Fund has a helpful article on Twitter effectiveness for animal shelters and rescue groups, and another article with encouraging news on ringworm. Also a ton of information on saving orphaned kittens.

Saving Our Companion Animals, a group that started up last January in Fort Bend County, Texas, is doing pretty much everything they can think of to help the county animal services division. The list of stuff they are doing includes animal care and socialization, networking on social media, taking photographs, interfacing with rescues, running adoption events, and doing pet retention. They also have an emergency medical fund and they work on spay-neuter. Whew! They need financial support – sounds like possibly a great opportunity for a grant-giving organization.

From Arlington, Texas we have fresh statistical evidence that charging a surrender fee does not lead to pet abandonment. A pilot program instituting a $25 surrender fee correlated with a drop in stray intake, a drop in owner surrender intake, and fewer calls reporting loose animals. Win, win, win. The funds collected will be used to pay for an animal cruelty investigator. More win. Other shelters that have kept statistics after instituting managed admission policies, including Lynchburg, Virginia and Douglas County, Nevada, have also found that asking owners to be more responsible correlates with positive changes.

Animal Farm Foundation has a great article about how animal shelters can best approach the issue of breed identification.

The SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County just did its largest single transport ever with 122 animals going to North Shore. The transport was aided by  the American Humane Association. Since the 1990s shelters in West Virginia have relied on transports to the northeast to save their animals. West Virginia shelters tend to be extremely underfunded and often do not receive much support from local populations, either in reducing intake or increasing placements. Fortunately, the state has a convenient transportation corridor in freeways running across Pennsylvania. West Virginia also has many shelter workers and volunteers who work very hard networking the animals, getting them vetted for transports, and often driving the first legs of transports.

I’m seeing more and more stories like this one about cities and counties building good, modern shelters. Sometimes the stories are about a private SPCA or humane society that has the contract for animal sheltering and is fundraising for the new building. In many cases, though, the local government provides all or a good portion of the funds.

The Niagara Falls City Council has approved a 1-year contract with the Niagara County SPCA.

The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS Act) is pending federal legislation that addresses the common situation where a victim of domestic violence is reluctant to leave an abusive situation if it means leaving pets behind. The proposed law also addresses situations where an abuser stalks a victim’s pet. Not much is getting through Congress these days, but the numbers cited in the linked article indicate this is a much-needed measure. Another pending federal bill takes aim at animal cruelty. It’s encouraging to see these proposed bills at the federal level, since most animal issues are relegated to the state and local level.

The Huntsville, Alabama animal shelter has higher-than-average intake at close to 6,000 animals per year. It has recently been using reduced-fee adoption events and extended hours to increase its live release rate, which was 92% for May. The shelter faces ongoing challenges, though, including high recent intakes and an influx of dogs from hoarding cases.

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