A helping paw: Animal shelter euthanasia rate plummets

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
A recent litter of kittens at the Ardmore Animal Shelter that were in need of a foster home. The successful foster care and animal transport programs have helped drop the euthanasia rate to 2% during the month of October.

The euthanasia rate at the Ardmore Animal Shelter dropped down to 2% during the month of October. To put this number into perspective, the same month in 2019 saw a 44% euthanasia rate and a 66% rate in 2018, according to Executive Director Kasey Renteria.

She credited the drop in euthanasia rates to the success of the transport partnership programs the shelter has with other pet rescue organizations in other states.

“You can tell how much dramatically our euthanasia numbers have dropped in the last couple of years, so our live release number is way up there,” Renteria said. “As long as we continue to have people contacting us about rescues and transports, we should be able to keep our numbers up there. Long term that’s going to make us into more of a no-kill shelter, because our live rates are so high.”

Even though a shelter might be classified as “no-kill,” Renteria pointed out that does not mean animals are never euthanized.

“It means adoptable pets are not euthanized,” she said. “Sometimes if an animal is too sick, too injured, or too aggressive we still have to make that decision. But for the most part, we’ve been very successful to save as many animals as we can in the last few months.”

She also credited their foster program with helping so many animals survive. Foster animals are typically young kittens and puppies that are too young to live at the shelter and need to be weaned. Sometimes the animals come with their mother, and sometimes they do not.

Most animals in need of a foster home are posted to the shelter’s Facebook page, and people can also put their names on a list of potential foster homes.

Renteria said the shelter will supply all of the essentials needed to foster the animals, so the foster parent will not be out any money. People can also specify what kind of foster animals they are capable of handling.

“Everybody can’t take everything and we understand that,” she said. “Maybe you’re willing to bottle feed, but you can’t take any more than one, or maybe you willing to foster but only if it has a mom.”

Renteria said new animals in need of foster come in all the time, and cats and kittens are the ones currently most likely to need a foster home.