• Susan Houser

News of the Week 08-09-15

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) has removed its draft statement on No-Kill terminology, which was in a comment period. Thank you ASV for listening to people’s concerns.


PetSmart Charities has issued an in-depth report on how San Antonio went from killing 90% of shelter animals 10 years ago to saving almost 90% today. The turnaround happened in several steps, including a planned effort to get all the animal welfare organizations working together, removing legal barriers to TNR, finding high-volume rescue partners, establishment of an adoption center, and massive spay-neuter efforts for owned pets. San Antonio was one of the few cities that in 2005, ten years ago, still had a serious problem of permanently homeless dogs roaming the streets, not to mention lots of community cats. Thanks to spay-neuter and TNR, the populations of free-roaming cats and dogs are down. Still, the San Antonio organizations handle a lot of animals – adopting over 24,000 cats and dogs and transferring more than 13,000 a year.


The community also spays or neuters 58,000 dogs and cats per year. An important part of the story has been funding, which has come in part from the San Antonio Area Foundation, Best Friends, and PetSmart Charities. San Antonio is an amazing No Kill success story, and kudos to PetSmart Charities for providing this analysis.


The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce Counties, in Takoma, Washington, wants to change the image of free-roaming cats. Instead of calling them “feral” they have moved to using the term “community” to describe free-roaming cats. They hope this change will help people realize that not all free-roaming cats are wild. The humane society is also trying to change the reputation of stray cats, stressing that they control rodent population. In addition to the new image for community cats, the shelter has a TNR program for them that has resulted in decreased intake.


In Pima County, Arizona, the local No Kill group is partnering with the shelter to get special-needs animals adopted. No Kill Pima County, in collaboration with the shelter, has created a website to feature adoptable animals who might otherwise get overlooked because they are older or have handicaps.


Hank’s Flights, a volunteer-pilot transport group based in Montgomery County, Texas, has transported 183 dogs and 20 cats since it started up in October 2014. Hank’s Flights is run by two families, and the pilots are brothers Howard and George Turek. They also volunteer with an organization that provides air transport for veterans.


More good news from Baton Rouge, where the Companion Animal Alliance is continuing its efforts to make the city No Kill. Local rescue groups have stepped up their efforts to recruit fosters for animals at the city shelter, and it has paid off with 245 dogs and 86 cats going into their foster programs in the first quarter of 2015. One foster family has provided a temporary home for 15 dogs in the past year.


The Stockton, California shelter continued its effort to reduce shelter killing recently with a free adoption Sunday. The Stockton shelter is running at a 79% live release rate for the first 6 months of 2015, compared to 75% for all of 2014 and 50% for all of 2013. The big improvement from 2013 to 2014 was primarily due to support from the San Francisco SPCA. Since the first 6 months of the year includes the worst part of kitten season, it is possible that the Stockton shelter will be over 80% for the year. Intake for the first 6 months of 2015 was 5,643 dogs and cats. A new director, Phillip Zimmerman, started at the shelter in January.


The board of the tiny Alger County Animal Shelter, which is No Kill, unexpectedly fired director Kathy Glish recently, and some local residents are not happy. All but one board member of the shelter resigned after the backlash to the firing, so perhaps a reconciliation is still possible.


Here is a nice feature about the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, and their turnaround from saving under 50% of intake four years ago to over 95% today. The key has been a public-private partnership between the city and the Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.

NBC and Telemundo are hosting a Clear The Shelters day on August 15th. Quite a few large cities are participating, including over 30 local shelters in the Chicago area and over 40 shelters in the San Francisco Bay area.

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